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Working up a Den

Midwestern black bears are expanding southward, into increasingly agricultural landscapes.  These photos and data stem from a project conducted by Karl Malcolm and Professor Tim Van Deelen while Karl was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The photos depict an excavated den with a mother sow and month-old cubs and a glimpse of what it means to “work up” a bear den.  The study on the 2008 Black Bear Quintuplets  describes the amazing reproductive productivity of a single Wisconsin “Super Sow” who produced 10 cubs over the span of two litters, fueled by rich food resources in central Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Bear Movement Figures illustrate locations of yearling male black bears during their exploratory searches into new territory.  To learn more about the expansion of Midwestern bear populations, and bear ecology in general check out Episode 37 of the MeatEater podcast.

You can also check out Karl in action here: