Mother knows best
Following the radio signal from the den area, we were surprised how far Lily and family had gone. We were surprised how far little Jason and Faith had to follow. A quarter mile. Actually 0.26 miles on Google Earth. Lily knew where she was going. They were at the base of one of the two biggest white pines we saw today, and it was in a similar kind of location to last year—out on a peninsula beside a lake on a sunny south-facing slope where the sun had melted most of the snow. This is a major change from the snowy swamp. Jason was exhausted. As we approached, Faith went 20-30 feet up the white pine. Jason stayed at the base. Faith quickly realized it was just us and came down and promptly fell asleep at the base of the tree along with Jason. Lily and Hope checked us and explored around. Droppings showed they had been there most of the day if not since last night. The droppings were comprised of old sedges and roots—as we had thought they were eating.
We wondered why Jason seemed more tired than Faith. Comparing them side by side, he looked slightly bigger than Faith, but maybe his fluffy light-colored head gives an optical illusion of size? We’d estimate both of them at maybe four pounds.
Hope was her energetic self. She looks in terrific shape—not skinny. Lily looks leaner—not unusual for a mother whose fat reserves are going into milk production.
It’s bitter sweet to have them leave the Den Cam area, but we saw an amazing amount of undisturbed activity there before they left. Now, to see them doing as predicted—moving to a big white pine on a south-facing slope as soon as the cubs could follow—was nice, too.
Today was a terrific day seeing Lily and her family after all this time. It was about 60 F degrees, a blue sky, with hardly a breeze. Snow was melting fast with almost a week of this weather to come. As we write this at 9:29 PM, the first moths of spring are flying against the window. The pictures of the bears tell the story of this late afternoon.
In the Readers Digest contest to win money for Ely, we have 296,000 votes, putting us solidly in the money—141,000 votes ahead of 7th place. The link to vote 10 times in a row each day is http://wehearyouamerica.readersdigest.com/town.jsp?town=ELY&state=MN.
We hope to have video from today’s visit posted later tonight! Please check for recent ‘bearstudy’ video uploads on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/bearstudy#g/u.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center