Recently, a curious black bear stumbled upon a wildlife camera set up by Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks in Boulder, Colorado. What happened next has amazed officials and residents alike – the bear managed to take nearly 400 “bear selfies” with the motion-activated device.
The park system posted some of the photos on its Twitter account, showcasing the bear’s efforts at self-documentation. Of the 580 pictures taken by the camera, approximately 400 were selfies captured by this furry visitor. The wildlife camera is one of nine such devices used to monitor local wildlife across 46,000 acres of land owned by Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.
Motion-activated cameras are invaluable tools for gathering information about wildlife behavior in their natural habitats without interfering with them directly. In turn, this helps protect important areas from human intrusion while still allowing us to learn more about our wild neighbors. Will Keeley, senior wildlife ecologist for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks explains: “The motion-detecting cameras provide us a unique opportunity to learn more about how local species use the landscape around us while minimizing our presence in sensitive habitats.”
Colorado is home primarily to black bears; grizzlies have not been seen in this state since 1979 according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. However, it can be difficult to accurately gauge their population size due to their reclusive nature. Still, estimates range between 17000 – 20000 individuals living within state borders as of 2015.
This incident serves as an example of just how much we can learn when given access into wild animal behavior without disturbing it in any way – even if that means having our cameras taken over for selfie time!