From the Field

Bear Nap by the Camera Trap

January 13, 2014

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Does a bear sleep in the woods?

In what might qualify as a wildlife version of a “selfie,” this North Idaho black bear apparently bumped the camera trap, hanging five feet off the ground in an aspen tree. This caused the camera to point towards the ground.

The bear then proceeded to fall asleep directly underneath the camera. For ten hours.

Whenever the bear shifted or fidgeted, the camera snapped a photo.

The above video condenses the images taken over ten hours into one stream, offering a glimpse of the bear’s somewhat restless and fitful sleep.

The camera trap was set at Hall Creek Preserve, in the Kootenai Valley of North Idaho. This narrow valley connects the Selkirk and Cabinet-Yaak mountains, two huge areas of public lands.

The Conservancy works to protect working forest and wetlands in this valley so that grizzly bears, black bears, moose, wolverines and other wildlife can continue their wide-ranging movements. Extensive research helps identify corridors — the places animals use to safely cross from one forested area to another. There’s also an effort underway to get wildlife safety across roads (utilizing security cameras).

Camera traps offer a way to easily view what wildlife is actually using a project area. (You can see more camera trap photos from North Idaho in a previous Camera Trap Chronicles blog).

Camera traps are increasingly deployed by conservationists (and citizen scientists) for a variety of purposes around the world. Have your own camera trap image you’d like to share? Send it our way. We’ll use the best submissions in a future edition of Camera Trap Chronicles.

Thanks to my colleagues Lisa Eller, Kennon McClintock and Ethan Kearns for the images and information.

The black bear naps underneath the camera trap in Idaho's Kootenai Valley.
The black bear naps underneath the camera trap in Idaho’s Kootenai Valley.
Matt Miller

Matt Miller is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy and editor of the Cool Green Science blog. A lifelong naturalist and outdoor enthusiast, he has covered stories on science and nature around the globe. Matt has worked for the Conservancy for the past 14 years, previously serving as director of communications for the Idaho program. More from Matt

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