What happens to bears after they fitted with a GPS collar and released?
Approximately once a week during peak season, Fish, Wildlife and Parks contracts out a small plane or helicopter to fly over well know bear habitat and look for collared grizzly bears using a radio tracking device. Antennas are placed on the wings of the plane and the individual frequencies of the bears are input into the computer. Once in the air, the locator will make various “ping” sounds based on the closeness to the bear; with the “pings” getting closer together as the plane gets near the animal. The pilot can then cut back and forth to narrow down the location of the bear sending out the signal. Once he figures out the approximate location, he can circle above the grizzly while the biologist downloads the current location and all of the previously recorded locations from the collar. This process takes only a few minutes and is repeated for each bear that registers on the computer in the plane.
The information retrieved from the collars is used to study how grizzly bears use the mountain coridors and to keep track of the population size.
While flying on October 22, 2009, the 700-lb Grizzly Bear that was captured twice in the Automated Bear Trap (#18) was spotted. We have not been able to retrieve all of the location information as of yet, but biologists were able to pick up the bear’s signal and get a visual conformation that the bear is in good health.
The map below shows where the bear was spotted in relation to where he was captured; approximately 3 miles southeast.