Tongass National Forest, National Geographic Magazine: Grizzly Bear Research Trip

A tranquilized brown bear creates a problem for researchers Rod Flynn and Lavern Beier of Alaska Department of Fish and Game. They darted the 16-year-old male in Kingsburg Creek while doing studies on grizzly bear range and habitat in southeast Alaska near the Canadian border. The 600-pound males slipped down the edge of a muddy embankment and was too heavy to move. With only a short time to work before the bear is revived, the two men took their research notes and then quickly built the bear a nest of branches so he wouldn’t fall into the creek when waking.

Brown bears are one of the special features of the Tongass. The decline in the range and numbers in the lower 48 states has heightened management concern and an increased interest in habitat-related studies. It is believed that brown bears avoid clearcuts and are more often found in riparian old growth, wetlands, and alpine/subalpine habitat because of more nutritious foraging and better cover.

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