Category Archive 'Brown Bears'

05 Oct 2021

Just How Fat Is That Bear?

, , ,

High Country News reports on a clever method of finding out.

Brown bears are fattening up for winter hibernation in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. And starting today, thousands of viewers from around the world will tune in for Fat Bear Week to watch the bears gobble fish from the Brooks River, estimate how well they’re packing on the pounds, and then vote for the portliest in a single elimination bracket.

But just how fat are those fat bears? A winner will be crowned Oct. 5, but webcam viewers — almost 650,000 cast votes last year — and actual visitors — 15,000 came to Brooks Falls to see the bears in 2019 — are just guesstimating. But there’s hope for achieving greater accuracy: GIS specialist Joel Cusick is pioneering a new technique for calculating the bears’ weight that has broader implications for noninvasive wildlife research.

The idea came to Cusick, who works for the National Park Service in Alaska, in 2018, while he was working on mapping and surveying at Katmai. A terrestrial lidar scanner, which uses lasers to determine distance and other measurements, was on hand to measure buildings. That’s the device traditional civil engineers use, but when Cusick wandered down to Brooks Falls and stood on a viewing platform 300 feet away from the bears, inspiration hit. He thought: Why not use the scanner to measure a bear’s surface volume instead?

“I got a laser return from the butt of Otis, one of the more famous brown bears up there,” Cusick said. “I thought, ‘Wow, this just might work.’”

Lidar, which stands for “light detection and ranging,” emits beams of light to measure three-dimensional objects or areas. When light waves hit an object, they bounce off and return to the sensor. Computers then use the speed of light to calculate the distance between the sensor and all the points. That figure is then processed using software that can model a three-dimensional object. Scanners have become standard technology that is deployed from the ground, the sky and satellites to measure vegetation growth. Now, they’re being used to measure bears’ length, height and girth.


13 Feb 2021

Bears Ungrateful



People quickly learned that brown bears don’t like social media photo-ops, during a release in Iraq yesterday.

Six Syrian brown bears were saved from captivity recently. After saving the bears, organizers of a wildlife conservation project in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq attempted to release the bears back into the wild. The group invited a cast of journalists, photographers, and spectators to watch the event. But the bears weren’t having it.

Just moments after the cages were opened, the bears charged the crowd. This was the third release planned by the organization. According to one of the event’s lead organizers, Blend Prevkani, reporters were also attacked by three bears during a release at the same location in 2018. So, either that location is cursed or organizers need to learn that large, chaotic crowds scare bears.

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Brown Bears' Category.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark