We wondered what 12-year-old Dot and her 3 newborn cubs were up to. She is a big bear that should be able to make a lot of milk. We wondered if they would be more advanced and possibly out of the den. Nope. Their den under some logs is dry, and they were snuggled nicely. We wanted to give Dot a radio-collar and GPS unit so we can see the moment she leaves the den. She was good enough to step away from the quietly sleeping cubs for a moment to let us do it.
She was calm until Lynn almost fell and his fast movement inches in front of her face scared her. She immediately turned and bolted back into the den and clacked her teeth when Lynn approached. A moment later, she appeared calm again. The cubs remained asleep. Dot is a sweetheart.
Jewel’s cubs are getting ever more coordinated and playful. Jewel spent a lot of time outside, spending some of the time raking up bedding for the den. We’re wondering when the cubs will become mobile enough to follow her outside. In 2010, Hope’s first excursion from the den was March 21st. Jewel has been pulling on her collar. Hopefully her cubs will keep her busy enough so she doesn’t actually succeed!
Lily and Faith could roam anywhere in their territory with the snow gone, but they are staying near the den. Lily even crawled into it today.
A story in the Princeton Union Eagle (Minnesota) about the effort to make the black bear the Minnesota State Mammal is at http://unioneagle.com/2012/03/state-mammal-students-want-the-black-bear/. Teacher Dana Coleman and her students have worked hard on this for 2 years. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. Minnesota residents could help by urging their legislators to support this worthy effort.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center