Bear Center Prepares for Den Cams

By KBJR News 1

November 14, 2012 Updated Nov 14, 2012 at 11:19 PM CDT

Ely, MN (NNCNow.com) - Researchers at the North American Bear Center are getting ready for a fourth season of watching bear hibernation through the use of the den cams.

This will be the fourth winter that Dr. Lynn Rogers and others at the North American Bear Center will set up a camera inside the bear's den, allowing them to conduct research on what Rogers says is one of the most understudied parts of a bear's life.

"We're still gathering basic information about what they do in the den and how it varies from year to year," said Rogers.

When the cameras are turned on in a few weeks, they'll take a look at two dens. One with the pregnant bear named Lily, who is expected to give birth in January. The other will allow researchers to watch a bear named Jewel and her year–old cubs.

Months of research will help Rogers and others studying bears solidify what they've learned from three winters of den cam studies.

"We were very surprised to see that they play and nurse all winter long," said Rogers.

More surprising to Rogers might be that the camera, originally intended to capture the bear hibernation, ended up capturing the attention of thousands across the world.

"I could not believe it," Rogers said, "Everybody wanted to learn about the bears."

Rogers hopes that support will be sustained the fourth time around, so people can continue to learn about an animal he says is misrepresented.

"What they're seeing is so different from the perceptions we have about bears," he said.

The North American Bear Center broke ground on a new Learning Center in October.

If you'd like to help support the Bear Center, you can contribute to the Center's Give to the Max Day page this Thursday, November 15th at the Bear Center's Page.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.