Operation Divot Succeeds!
Teams began looking for Divot around Brooks Camp at 6:00 am. At around 9:00am we sent a boat out to look for her along the lakeshore, and she was seen approximately in the same spot as yesterday. The rest of us mobilized and arrived where Divot had been seen and she was nowhere to be found. Once again, we retired to the boats so as to have a better look along the shore. About 12:20 Alaska time she appeared, we moved into position and were able to get a clean shot. Within about 3 or 4 minutes Divot was sleeping soundly on the beach. The team moved in, removed the wire snare (it was indeed a snare--please don't jump to any conclusions about the snare--right now we want to focus on the success of the mission). While deep (a little more than an inch all the way around), it had not severed anything critical. It was cleaned and liberally doused with Betadine disinfectant. We have every reason to believe she will make a full recovery. Throughout the entire time we were with her, about 45 minutes, her cub stayed pretty close, keeping an eye on us, and occasionally calling out for Divot. After about an hour she picked up her head, at 1:20 mins she attempted to get up, but was still pretty "drunk". Ranger Mike and several others waited with her until she was fully mobile.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:36PM AK - Ranger Roy
Update: I will make this short, and then be available to answer questions later. We arrived where Divot had been seen and she was nowhere to be found. Once again, we retired to the boats so as to have a better look along the shore. About 12:20 Alaska time she appeared, we moved into position and were able to get a clean shot. Within about 3 or 4 minutes Divot was sleeping soundly on the beach. The team moved in, removed the wire snare (it was indeed a snare--please don't jump to any conclusions about the snare--right now we want to focus on the success of the mission). While deep (a little more than an inch all the way around), it had not severed anything critical. It was cleaned and liberally doused with Betadyn disinfectant. We have every reason to believe she will make a full recovery. Throughout the entire time we were with her, about 45 minutes, her cub stayed pretty close, keeping an eye on us, and occasionally calling out for Divot. After about an hour she picked up her head, at 1:20 mins she attempted to get up, but is still pretty "drunk". Ranger Mike and several others are with her still, waiting until she is fully mobile. I'll have photos and videos later. Right now I need to run off to the river to address an issue with "Bear Hat Bear", Bear 500, our newest numbered bear.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:23PM AK - Ranger Roy
To give you all an idea who was involved with the Divot Mission, here is a list:
Ranger Grant-Wildlife Biologist and guy with the skill and license to tranquilize wildlife
Ranger Sherri--The park's wildlife biologist
Ranger Michael S--Bear Tech
Ranger Leslie--Bear Monitor
Ranger Chad--Boat captain
Ranger Matthew--Boat Captain
Ranger Aaron--Park Interpretive Ranger
Ranger Mike F--Media Ranger Ranger Roy
The entire Brooks Camp staff that kept their eyes peeled for Divot, and kept camp running during our days away looking for her.
The entire King Salmon staff that located resources and transported people and gear to and from Brooks Camp
Here the film about the Mission 854 Divot
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:00PM AK - Ranger MikeGood evening from Brooks Camp. I just got back about an hour ago. I was out in the boat with other staff monitoring 854 Divot as the effects of the tranquilizer wore off. When we left the bear at 4:30 PM, the family was still on the beach and the cub had nursed for a few moments. Hopefully, our efforts gave 854 Divot a chance to heal. Attached are a few photos from today.
The first photo is Sherri Anderson and Grant Hildebrant treating Divot. They removed the snare, applied an iodine-like liquid (betadyn) to her wound, took blood and hair samples as well as applied a lip tattoo.
The second photo is 854 Divot after we treated her and moved her off of the beach. We moved her away from the water so that when the tranquilizer's effects began to wear off, she didn't fall into the water and potentially drown.
The third and fourth photos are of Divot after she moved slightly down to beach. Her state at that point in time, about 1-2 hours after being tranquilized, is best described as extremely intoxicated. She can move, but doesn't have full control of her legs and really couldn't stand up.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:33PM AKDT - Ranger JeanneRanger Roy posted photos of 854 Divot with the snare around her neck on July 28. Those photos were taken at Brooks Camp by Michael S, a bear technician. After seeing them, CalliopeJane realized she had seen the same bear near King Salmon and posted her photo. Here is a map with some of Divot's locations marked. The coordinate marked July 24 is where CalliopeJane took her photo. The July 29 coordinate is the approximate location where Divot was tranquilized today. The green lines mark the park boundary.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:23PM AKDT - Ranger Roy
We went to check on Divot today. She was sleeping off her "hangover" on the beach while her cub caught a fish in the lake. We watched for a few minutes and then she got up and walked down the beach away from us. So it seems she is doing well.
COULD YOU PLEASE POST A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SNARE?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 7:11PM AK - Ranger Roy. I cannot. At the moment, the snare is considered evidence in an ongoing investigation. There may be a time in the future where we can discuss, but not at the moment. Thank you for your understanding.
Since bears associate people with things people expose bears to (food, rewards like human objects), and bears have such a keen sense of smell, even remembering other bears by their smell, do you think Divot or her cub will associate the wolf snare removal team that helped her with where to go for help? Do you think she will associate any negative feelings towards the smell of anyone on the team? Are you interested to see how she reacts to people on the team if she returns to Brooks and smells any of you again?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:45PM AK - Ranger Mike. She is a human-habituated bear so she's use to human scent. I'm sure she doesn't know why she smells so strongly of humans, but we do not expect her to have any out of the ordinary responses to humans even after this experience.
If you had not intervened with Divot, would this have been life threatening?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:33PM AK - Ranger Roy. We believe that, had we not intervened, Divot would not have been able to survive. The cable would have continued to cut into her neck, ultimately severing something vital, or preventing her from breathing or swallowing. Bears are resilient animals, so as it stands now, she has an excellent chance of survival.
How was the cub reacting while you all were there with Divot? How far away was it? Did it act aggressive? skittish?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:32PM AK - Ranger Mike. The cub wanted to come back to its mother very quickly. It was never far and sometimes it was within 30 feet of us. It was not aggressive, but clearly wanted to be back with its mother. Before we left the family at 4:30 PM (about 4 hours after she had been tranquilized), the cub was energetic and playful. It had even nursed for a few minutes.
How close was the cub to her and to you during this?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:24PM AK - Ranger Mike. The cub was sometimes very close, less than 20 yards. After we left, it came back to mom within 10-15 minutes after we left and would've come back sooner had we not been treating its mother.
Ranger Mike, in the first picture, does she have blood on her fur on her right side. It appears to be red. Was that blood from her neck wound?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:22PM AK - Ranger Mike. That was from the tranquilizer dart. It hit her in that shoulder. Her wound around her neck was bleeding some too.
Have you ever had a "rescue" like this one in your past years at Katmai?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:03PM AK - Ranger Roy. I have not. We tried one other time, but we were never able to locate the bear when we had the people and gear to do it. It is pretty extraordinary that we were able to succeed today.
While Divot was under did they take any blood samples for DNA, take a look at her overall health and get any measurements on her?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:58PM AK - Ranger Roy. We did take blood and hair, as well as a general examination of her body. She appeared to be in great health. Her DNA was taken during our last genetics project. You can read about it in the ebook and iBook in the links above. Her mother was 216, Marilyn, and her father was 24, BB.
When you left Divot had the tranquilizer completely worn off? Was she up and getting around?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:54PM AK - Ranger Mike. She was up, but not moving. The tranquilizer's effects were wearing off, but I'm sure she was still feeling it. The wind was picking up in the lake and we were in a small boat, so we didn't want to stay longer. It was about 4 hours after she had been tranquilized and that is usually enough time for the bear to recover enough to move about.
Do you think the cub will suffer trauma seeing its mother tranquilize?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:42PM AK - Ranger Mike. We don't think the cub will suffer from this, although it was stressed while we were handling its mother. Before I left the bear family at 4:30 PM, Divot had nursed the cub and the cub was playing with sticks and fishing in lake. The cub was acting energetic and playful.
How does the bear smell? are they like our dogs, or musky, I know a silly question, but I figured since you were up close......
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:38PM AK - Ranger Roy. She smelled like fish. Not in a terrible way. Some bears really stink, but not Divot. She was a very clean, beautiful bear. Very healthy.
Is there any concern that the cub will receive any of the sedation medication when it nurses? With human mothers, the nursing can be temporarily stopped, milk can be pumped and discarded until it is safe to resume nursing. How is that handled with nursing sows and their cubs?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:02PM AK - Ranger Roy. I asked, and the answer was no. The drug lasts only about 4 hours and does not appear to appear in breast milk. They do, however, recommend that humans not eat an animal that has been tranquilized within the last 45 days. That is not an issue with Divot.
How many people did it take to move Divot to the shade?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:40PM AK - Ranger Roy. It took one more than we had! There aren't a lot of good handles on a bear. You think the legs will work, but they are too long. I have been warned to never release the video of the "team carry" of Divot so as to avoid any "How many rangers does it take to move a sleeping bear?" jokes.
I've wondered many times: how does bear fur rate for 'smoochability'? Is is soft like cats/rabbits, or rough like cattle? Moot question I know as nobody would attempt to smooch one!
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:16PM AK - Ranger Roy. It is pretty coarse. Definitely not snuggly.
About how much does she weigh right now?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:34PM AK - Ranger Mike. The biologist leading the team estimated that she weighed less than 400 lbs. She is not the biggest bear in Katmai, but it still took many of us to move her just a few feet from the beach.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:12PM AK - Ranger Roy. Divot weighed between 400 and 500 pounds. She is 12 or 13 years old, so she has some growing to do still.
Will you give us a headsup when Divot is mobile? is there any chance she & cub would come down to Lower River?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:24PM AK - Ranger Roy. She may very well show up again in camp, but she has a pretty sweet little salmon stream all to herself right now. Of course, keep your eyes peeled for her on the cams. She will be pretty easy to spot for a while, as the the ink used to tattoo her lip has given her a green "milk mustache".
What is the tattoo on the lip for???
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:56PM AK - Ranger Roy. Biologists usually tattoo animals they handle in order to know if they recapture them at a later date. It is a permanent ID that is only visible if you look inside her lip. Her tattoo is her Bear ID number, 854.
and what else happend at this special day......, still noticed only did 1 gif....