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Bear No. 56 peers from its den in the Chippewa National Forest near Marcell in Itasca County. At 39 years, No. 56 has lived longer than any other known wild bear. Although their body functions slow during hibernation, bears still occasionally awaken for brief periods. Sam Cook/Forum News Service

MN black bear is world's oldest-known wild bear

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NEAR MARCELL -- Karen Noyce set the frequency on her radio-telemetry receiver and pointed its antenna into the old pines of Chippewa National Forest near Marcell Monday morning. The temperature was 2 below zero. The woods were blanketed in new snow.

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From the telemetry receiver, Noyce heard high-pitched intermittent chirps.

"That's her," said Noyce, a wildlife research biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids.

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