Oklahoma's Own Blake Shelton spent his weekend in the woods with some wild black bears as part of a long-standing research project in the state.
For 20 years researchers have been keeping track of Oklahoma's growing bear population, along with the health of the herd.
On Saturday Blake Shelton tagged along in eastern Oklahoma to see the research project in person, while also getting to cuddle with a tiny bear cub. For more information on the research project, Click Here.
Shelton is a board director for the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation and a big advocate for wildlife conservation efforts in the state.
Oklahoma State University bear researchers and wildlife biologists with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department collect data from a number of bear dens each year near the end of February and early March.
They weigh the cubs, take measurements and note any distinguishing marks. The cub Shelton met was a girl that weighed just over 5 pounds.
Researchers also fit the cub with a microchip. It does not transmit location, but if she is ever captured again, researchers will be able to scan the tag to know the bear’s history. Wildlife biologists said that will give them valuable information to help them better understand Oklahoma's bear population.
Researchers have been studying the cub’s mother for several years. She is a nine-year-old, 275-pound sow fitted with a tracking collar. She is one of many wild black bears with a tracking collar, which allows biologists to monitor and keep up with each bear’s location.
In order for wildlife biologists to get the cub to collect data, they had to tranquilize the momma bear. The two were not separated long before the cub was returned to the den. Researchers say they never leave the area near the den until they are sure the mother bear is back to normal and the cub is safe.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is giving the public a rare opportunity to be a “Bear Biologist For A Day” through ODWC’s new Outdoor Oklahoma Adventures raffle program. All money raised through the raffle will go directly toward the wildlife department’s conservation efforts.
For more information on how to enter, Click Here.