ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Missouri Department of Conservation checked on some pretty adorable Missouri residents this week — black bears.

Staff checked black bear den sites Thursday as part of the department’s ongoing research on bear population, reproduction, health and habitats.

The MDC shared some of its adorable findings on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon:

As of now, the department reports a population of 300 to 350 black bears in Missouri. Click here to see a map of black bear sightings in Missouri!

Here’s a video of bear biologist Laura Conlee on her hands and knees in a black bear den in southern Missouri conducting research on a mother bear:

Staff say they use a syringe on a pole to sedate bears before getting that close.

And if you haven’t gotten enough cute — here are some more pictures the MDC posted on its Facebook page today of its findings and friends they visited Thursday:

Although black bears are interesting animals, the MDC encourages people to only enjoy bears from a distance, never feed them, and to “Be Bear Aware.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about black bears in Missouri!

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