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Photos: Bear research in northwestern Minnesota

Environment Ann Arbor Miller · ·

1 Researchers, university students and other interested persons begin a roughly 1-mile hike into the woods to check on a female bear and her cubs on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. The outing is part of an ongoing research project to assess the movement and food preferences of black bears. 
2 Bear research biologist Karen Noyce laughs with colleagues on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. The black cloth behind Noyce covers the opening to a bear den where a female and two cubs are spending the winter. By her own estimate, Noyce has entered hundreds and hundreds of bear dens. 
3 Bear research biologist Karen Noyce of the Minnesota DNR holds a tranquilizing shot for a female bear on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. Noyce and other researchers are studying the movement and food preferences of black bears. 
4 Weighing a black bear becomes an easier task with the strength of six men. This female bear weighed in at 164 pounds on Tuesday, March 8 , 2011. That's compared to 97 pounds when researchers caught up with her last spring. Her weight in December 2010 - when she was pregnant - was 214 pounds. 
5 Lead bear research biologist Dave Garshelis, left, bear research biologist Karen Noyce, center, and University of Minnesota graduate student Mark Ditmer, right, assess the size and overall health of a female bear on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. Black bears are expanding their range as they move out of more forested areas. 
6 University of Minnesota graduate student Mark Ditmer records information about the size and overall health of a bear cub on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. Researchers are studying the movement and food preferences of black bears in this part of the state. 
7 University of Minnesota graduate student Mark Ditmer, right, weighs a bear cub, while Krista Rothstein, left, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota's biomedical engineering program, observes during a research outing on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. 
8 University of Minnesota graduate student Mark Ditmer holds a black bear cub during a research outing on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. 
9 While researchers measure, weigh and assess the overall health of a momma black bear, her cubs are kept warm inside the coats of humans. Here, Sarah Thompson, a graduate student in the University of Minnesota's conservation biology program, connects with one of two cubs. 
10 Dr. Tim Laske, center, and Dr. Paul Iaizzo, right, prepare to implant a cardiac monitor in a female black bear on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. The monitor will record the bear's heart rate and overall activity for the next three years. 
11 Dr. Paul Iaizzo prepares to implant a cardiac monitor in a female black bear on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. The monitor will record the bear's heart rate and overall activity for the next three years. 
12 This photograph shows a cardiac monitor like the one implanted in a female black bear on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. The monitor has the ability to collect data about the animal and her activity for three years. 
13 Computers and other equipment surround a sedated black bear during a field procedure to implant a cardiac monitor on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in northwest Minnesota. Researchers were also checking on the bear's overall health as part of an ongoing research project to assess the movement and food preferences of bears in the region. 
14 The feet of several researchers surround a female black bear shortly before she and her two cubs are returned to their den in northwest Minnesota.