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      Wildlife experts bear witness to population growth

      D eep in the woods of Montmorency County lays a brown bear with her four cubs in deep hibernation. This mother bear is one of four around the region that these Department of Natural Resources wildlife technicians keep a close eye all year long

      " We use the data from the bears to evaluate reproduction and how reproduction is going for litter sizes and so forth, so we can further build our data model, so we can estimate the bear population for the northern lower peninsula," DNR wildlife biologist Mark Boersen said.

      T hey changed the collar on the bear , which helps them keep track of its locat i on.

      T hey also checked on its cubs , all four of these babies , weighing about four pounds a piece, were kept warm while mama was being checked out.

      YOUTUBE EXTRA: Baby cubs playing around in northern Michigan

      T he wildlife agents do a quick check of health , because they never know when they will need this mother for another reason.

      " If we were to come upon or someone finds a n orphaned c u b in the wild , we can place those cubs with a surrogate mother ," DNR wildlife technician Daniel Moran said.

      A nother purpose of this trip was to train new DNR wildlife technicians on how to properly tranquilize a bear.

      W hen one of these animals ac c iden tall y gets caught up in a suburban area , these agents are called in. A nd this program makes sure the removal is as safe as possible for both sides.

      " When they get into a setting like that they become really more of a nuisance rather than a danger our teams will go in and they will drug those bears and remove them from town and release them into a more wild location ," Moran said.

      O ver the last couple of decades they have been able to keep up with the trends in population through this program. M ore recently noticing a growth in litter size , which may mean a future growth in population.