From Xplor for Kids
February 2013 Issue

Wild Jobs: Biologist Jeff Beringer

Publish Date

Feb 01, 2013

Q: How do you use satellites to track bears?

A: We put special collars on the bears. The collars beam signals to a satellite in space. The satellite beams information to my computer to show where each bear is located.

Q: How do you get a collar on a 300-pound animal?

A: First we have to catch it. We use traps baited with day-old doughnuts. Bears are smart, but their stomachs often overrule their brains.

Q: What do you do once you catch a bear?

A: We give it knock-out drugs, so the bear can’t move or feel anything. It can still see, though, so we blindfold it, so it doesn’t get stressed. Once the bear’s out, we take all kinds of measurements, put on a collar, and pull a tooth.

Q: Ouch! Why pull a tooth?

A: We learn a lot from a tooth: how old the bear is, if it’s healthy, and — if it’s a female — how old she was when she first had cubs. Bears have plenty of teeth, and we pull one they don’t use.

Q: What’s best about being a bear biologist?

A: In winter we track bears back to their dens. I crawl inside to give the bear knock-out drugs so we can replace its collar. It’s great to see a bear again after following its life on my computer.

Q: Isn’t it dangerous to crawl inside a bear’s den?

A: Most of the time bears are snoozing and don’t know I’m there. Even so, I have someone hold my ankles, so if I wiggle inside and the bear doesn’t like it, my partner can yank me out. wildjobs

Also in this issue

You Discover

With winter almost gone and spring just around the corner, there’s plenty for you to discover outside in February and March. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Predator vs. Prey: Green Heron vs. Bluegill

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.

How To: Make a Bug-Out Bag

Keep a bug-out bag always packed, and you’ll be able to get your hide outside with a moment’s notice.


Whether the change happens slowly or suddenly, there’s more to nature than meets the eye.

Awesome Opossums

Take a closer look at this curious critter, and you’ll find opossums are actually awesome.

Strange But True

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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