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There are areas in Europe where brown bears are permanently abundant and numbers have risen in some areas, such as Northern Europe. Gathering information on the number of bears in an area is challenging and difficult: the animals are shy and avoid humans, the area is not inhabited by humans who could report bear activity or signs of activity or the area may be quite inaccessible. Hair trapping is a noninvasive sampling technique to pluck hairs from bears. Bears or other organisms do not get hurt with this method. The hairs collected are utilized for genetic analysis and allow individual identification of the animals. From that it is possible to estimate the number of bears living in an area. The method can also deliver interesting and funny pictures and movies, when such traps are equipped with a wildlife camera. Some bears even take selfies.

Teacher: Alexander Kopatz