4/9/2012 8:26:47 PM
By April Cheuvront
It is a beautiful, sunny Arctic day! There is basically no wind and the sunshine sparkles on the snow. We're traveling 12 miles out onto the tundra to a collared grizzly bear in her den. Scientists pinpointed this den—like the polar bear den the dogs found yesterday—in February with a hand-held FLIR, an infrared detection camera system. Today we're seeing if the two Karelian Bear Dogs, Kavik and Grace, can also detect the grizzly bear den.
Kavik and Grace get to ride the 12 miles out to the den site in a heated Hagglunds tracked vehicle. This allows them to conserve their energy for the actual den site search. When we get close to the site, they're excited to be out of the vehicle and are ready to "find the bear"—that is the command the dog handlers, Dick Shideler and Trent Roussin, give to the dogs to begin their search. Both dogs do repeated digging near the den site, indicating a positive bear and den detection signal. Good job, Kavik and Grace!