For the first time in 18 years of Oklahoma bear research one of the collared female bears has given birth to four cubs. The cubs are in southeastern Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Oklahoma State University researchers have been studying the state’s black bears since 2001.

Researchers have collared a number of wild bears over the years so they’re able to keep up with their locations and monitor them. Once the female gives birth, biologists go into the den and tranquilize her. Then they take the cubs, collect data (weight, body measurements, sex, etc.) and microchip them before returning them to their sleeping mom.

Lastly, before leaving the woods, the researchers watch from afar to make sure the mother bear wakes up, and everyone is back to normal.

The research is helping keep track of the health of the herd and the number of bears in Oklahoma as the population continues to grow in the state.

Thank you to ODWC Director JD Strong and Outdoor Oklahoma host Todd Craighead for the pictures.