COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–An adult male black bear weighing about 250 pounds was radio collared in Vinton County November 14. This was the first black bear ever collared in Ohio.
Wildlife biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will track the movement of the bear twice daily for up to five years with the placement of a GPS collar. The bear had wandered into a Vinton County site where ODNR was doing work, but it took time to safely trap and collar the bear last weekend.
The goal of a radio collar goes beyond tracking: the data help biologists determine the population movement and density, and overall health of black bears that number approximately 50-100 in Ohio. Habitat and range information are essential to the study, which may also confirm a female bear close to the home range. If caught, the female will also have a radio collar deployed for research purposes.
The American black bear had all but disappeared from Ohio in the mid-1800s with the loss of habitat (deforestation), but has gradually returned to the wooded areas of southeastern Ohio.