Utah biologists took an expedition over the weekend into remote areas of the mountains to check on the condition of hibernating bears.
They wanted to see if the bears had babies, check on their health and replace GPS tracking collars.
Faith Jolley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources documented her trip to visit one bear on Twitter.
"It’s pretty intense to get to some of these remote locations and often includes snowmobiling and a snowshoe hike," said Jolley.
"We located the bear den by using equipment to ping her GPS collar and pinpoint her location. Then biologists prepared a tranquilizer shot to sedate her during the health exams."
"Black bears are the only type of bear in Utah and it was so incredible to get to be so close (safely) to one!"
They located the bear den by using equipment to ping her GPS collar and pinpoint her location. Then biologists prepared used a tranquilizer shot to sedate her during the health exams.
Once she was sedated, they checked for babies (unfortunately she had none) and then did health checks, measurements and replaced her GPS collar.
Jolley said she was able to be face-to-face with the sedated female bear in her den after it was tranqualized.
"This was me face to face with a bear in her den. Even though she was sedated, I was [very] nervous ha!"
According to the North American Bear Center, black and grizzly bears hibernate up to 7 ½ months without eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating and are considered highly efficient hibernators.
To prepare, the animals spend the spring and summer eating everything they can find, up to 20,000 calories a day, in the form of plants and grasses, berries, acorns, insects, honey, and even birdseed and garbage.
Most female adult bears produce a litter of two or three cubs. In North America, two is most common. The record is six for one bear in Pennsylvania, according to Bear.org.
Black bears can live up to 30 years in the wild.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, biologists equip black bears with collars to collect data on survival, reproduction, habitat, behavior, and movement.