Posted: Aug 25, 2012 7:45 PM by Mike Gurnett - Montana FWP
Updated: Aug 27, 2012 11:08 AM
HELENA - Black bears spend a lot of time climbing, eating and resting in trees. In the past, when injured or orphaned black bear cubs where brought to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, there was little opportunity for bears to develop their climbing skills. But now they can, since volunteers recently built a first-class training facility for black bear wildlands survival.
Volunteer Bob Morton said it started with Daryl Miller supplying logs.
"We went there and picked them all out and then we had a design contest in-house," Morton said.
"Different bear playground activity that people could come up with and worked with Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the different requirements they would have for their own ideas. We worked with the different equipment rental places in town and different construction contractors."
Volunteer Robert Peccia said, "Most of our people are hunters and spend a lot of time outdoors so a facility for bears is something that fits with them and they enjoy doing."
Morton said the construction project was fun because it was a little unusual. "It is not like building a piano, its big logs so we were able to go with the flow a little bit during construction."
The captive cubs are kept away from the public to prevent them from getting used to people. In fall, when the cubs are old enough to survive on their own, they are equipped with an ear tag transmitter, released into the back country and monitored by biologists.