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Oldest known bear in North America dies in Minnesota

Forum News Service The world's oldest-known wild bear has died of old age in northern Minnesota at the age of 39 1/2 , according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The bear was known to DNR researchers as Bear No. 56. A female Amer...

Forum News Service

The world’s oldest-known wild bear has died of old age in northern Minnesota at the age of 39½, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The bear was known to DNR researchers as Bear No. 56. A female American black bear, she was first captured and radio-collared in July 1981 by DNR scientists during the first summer of a long-term research project on bear population ecology.

The bear was 7 years old at the time and was accompanied by three female cubs.

Bear No. 56 became a significant animal in the DNR research project. During a 32-year study period, she and her many offspring provided an almost uninterrupted record of reproduction, survival, movements and aging within a single matriarchal lineage, researchers said. Data from this bear and her offspring have contributed significantly to the scientific literature on black bear biology, DNR officials said.

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DNR researchers visited Bear No. 56 over the winter at her den in the Marcell area in Itasca County, north of Grand Rapids.

Related Topics: WILDLIFEITASCA COUNTY
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