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Hibernating Black Bear and Cubs
Bear Den
Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia
, 2006/2007
colour photograph
94, 9 x 113,9 x 3,2 cm
plate: 16,6 x 11,4 cm
edition 6/7+2A.P.
The bears in the photograph are part of the West Virginia Division of Natural
Resources Black Bear Research and Monitoring Project. Researchers monitor the
health and development of mothers (sows) and cubs through their hibernation from
approximately mid December to early April. Sows both give birth to the cubs and
nurse them while in their winter dens.
The American black bear, Ursus americanus, inhabits wooded and mountainous areas
throughout much of North America. What constitutes hibernation is a contested
issue among scientist and bear biologists. During hibernation a black bear's body
temperature decreases from approximately 104 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit and its
metabolism is greatly reduced. Black bears sleep for months without eating, drinking,
exercising, or passing wastes.
Although the dens that black bears prepare for hibernation are often as cold as
outside temperatures, their insulative fur and reduced blood circulation enable them
to maintain a healthy body temperature and brain function. In preparation for
months of inactivity black bears put on as much as 30 pounds per week by eating
nuts, berries and other foods. The length and timing of the hibernation relates to
food availability and regional weather patterns. Hibernation can last over seven
months in the northern parts of the black bear range, where food may be available
for only four months each year.
Aquired 2007
Inv. Nr. 2007/64
MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main
Acquired with funding from the Grunelius-Stiftung, Frankfurt am Main
picture credits:
© Taryn Simon
Photo: Axel Schneider
Taryn Simon
* 1975 in New York, NY (US)