Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Black bear sports body art
TAYLORSTOWN – Anytime a black bear is trapped in Pennsylvania, it’s returned to the wild sporting a new tattoo.
Wildlife conservation officers with the state’s Game Commission use India ink and a series of tiny needles to brand identification numbers into a drugged bear’s upper lip, just in case the animal loses the metal tags they clamp to its ears.
"Now, he has earrings," said Rich Joyce, shown below, a commission officer in Washington County, who processed this bear caught Monday night on a farm in Taylorstown.
The commission keeps files of the markings to track how far these animals roam after they are caught a second time or taken down by hunters.
“They usually have a territory,” Joyce said.
It’s rare that these animals attack humans or even farm animals, he said.
The aggressive strain of this breed was weeded out many years ago by farmers who just shot and killed pesky bears to protect their livestocks, Joyce added.
This bear was searching for a new home after it was sent packing by its mother and it began hanging out near a garage in North Franklin Township, waiting to steal the family’s trash for dinner.
The Game Commission tranquilized the animal after unidentified rednecks in a van chased it through a field and up a tree. The 1 1/2-year-old, 180-pound bear will be looking for near digs in remote Fayette or Somerset counties, near their borders with West Virginia.
(Photos by Greg Tarr, Observer-Reporter)