Lily, Faith, Jewel, etc. – UPDATE May 9, 2012
While Lily roams, Juliet and Jewel both center their activities around large white pines. Today, we found Juliet less than 40 yards from the big white pine she was using yesterday. Jewel hasn’t been able to get her cubs to cross the paved road. Today, she left them at the white pine they have been at since yesterday and crossed the road alone. She foraged up to 0.34 miles away from them for over 3 hours before returning to her cubs. As a first time mom, she has trouble getting her cubs to follow.
Another video of Jewel and cubs from April 28 is posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s9_rZy9iMw.
We’ve been gathering data on the break-up of mothers and yearlings since 2000 when Shadow broke up her litter that contained (then yearling) RC. This year we have an opportunity to add substantially to that data set.
Within hours after Lily’s family break-up on Monday sometime around midday, Lynn and a BBC camera crew checked on Faith. As expected, she had to take responsibility for her safety and was keenly interested in every little unidentified sound. It’s the kind of caution that drives some yearlings to spend windy days taking refuge in the tops of trees. Wind makes the forest sound like a rustling, dangerous place. Faith put safety ahead of food, spending minutes at a time on alert or walking to places where she could see better through the forest vegetation.
Lynn wanted to verify that she was okay. Mother bears can look ferocious going after yearlings and letting them know they are no longer welcome to hang out. We know of two yearlings that were bitten, including Lily as a yearling. How was Faith? Approaching yearlings newly on their own can be hard. They seem to have no confidence. We were lucky to find her on a rock ridge where she could evaluate us from a distance as we walked obliquely to her to avoid seeming too aggressive. She eventually believed “It’s me, bear” and came to Lynn as the BBC filmed. Lynn was able to examine her all over. There were no wounds and no areas that made her wince. She was okay.
We located Faith’s radio-signal today, but it took over an hour and 20 minutes of calling “It’s me, bear” for her to cautiously approach. She relaxed as she ate the handful of nuts we brought, but ran as soon as we tried to follow her. We’ve never been able to walk with yearlings—and Faith is no exception.
Elsewhere, Braveheart is showing signs of estrus even though she is still with at least one yearling, which is all we could see in a big white pine nearby. Braveheart was still behaving in a motherly way, grunting to however many of her three yearlings were up in the tree. We’ll want to check on Braveheart tomorrow, if possible.
June may be in the midst of family breakup. She has only one of her yearlings with her—female Aster. June blew and chased Aster, but shortly afterwards let her nurse. Conflicting drives.
On another topic, a volunteer is needed to coordinate the building of a Canine ‘Rest’ Area in a corner of the Bear Center parking lot. We need a small fenced area where dogs can relieve themselves. We hope to have it in place before the summer crowds start arriving. This kind of accommodation was repeatedly mentioned in the survey (thank you). If you can help, please fill out a volunteer application on http://www.bear.org/website/volunteer.html. Also check out other important tasks under "On-site Outdoor Assistants" on the same Web page.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center