Den Cam Paper - UPDATE July 1, 2020

The Den Cam Paper was published today in the journal ‘Animals’ as: “Behavior in Free-living American Black Bear Dens: Parturition, Maternal Care, and Cub Behavior.”RCRC It will be publicly available online within a month. We feel very fortunate to have the paper published in this prestigious ‘open access’ journal that has nearly triple the ‘journal impact factor’ (2.323) than does the journal Ursus (0.800) that we submitted it to in 2013. ‘Impact factors’ are based on how many people read and cite a journal. Open access means that articles in ‘Animals’ are open to the public and are not restricted to subscribers as in private journals like Ursus. I would not have known about this journal ‘Animals’ that I believe is only a decade old except that co-author Professor Gordon Burghardt is aware of everything like that as an associate editor for many scientific journals. Thank you, Gordon!RCs cubRCs cub

The histories of publication of this paper and an earlier one are bizarre but fortunate. The first one was ‘Black bear reactions to venomous and non-venomous snakes in Eastern North America.” It was rejected by Ursus because, ‘if bears in our study had lost fear of people, who’s to say they hadn’t also lost fear of snakes?’ Co-author Burghardt suggested we try the journal Ethology, which has twice the impact factor of Ursus. There, it was enthusiastically accepted and is now being frequently cited by authors around the world. Next, we submitted the Den Cam paper to Ursus and had it rejected with no review. Bizarre. Especially so for a paper in which so much was new to science. Then we learned that the DNR, which serves as an advisor to the journal Ursus, was trying to prepare a case that I don’t publish. In court, when the DNR tried to present that case, it was sanctioned by the judge for illegally withholding from the court documents that showed how the DNR was preventing me from publishing. The judge dismissed publishing as an issue. In the end, we came out far ahead by having these papers rejected by Ursus and having them published in the higher impact journals.

Long horned wood boring beetleLong horned wood boring beetle SpankySpanky Spankys mouthSpankys mouth

After the excitement of learning that the paper had appeared in print, more excitement followed. 21-year-old RC made her first appearance of the year—with four cubs. We raced to the place where they were sighted. There, we saw RC reacting to 5-year-old Spanky. RC grumbled and took after him, shagging him out of there. RC looked relaxed after the chase (photo). So did her cubs high in trees. At one point, Spanky gave a view of his tongue and the inside of his mouth that I’d never seen before, but I couldn’t see anything that would explain his inability to extend his tongue like other bears do when ingesting food.

A long-horned wood boring beetle gave an extra good view of its ‘horns.’

A great day with more fun to come when the Black Bear Field Courses begin on Sunday.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center