Braveheart Finds a Mate – UPDATE May 21, 2012
We’re not sure who he is yet, but this 3-4 year-old male trusted us enough to ignore us and mate repeatedly with Braveheart. Braveheart (age 10) accepted him in the absence of her usual mate, One-eyed Jack, and actually pursued him. After they mated, Braveheart, followed him from bedsite to bedsite. Braveheart spent an hour and a half grooming him for ticks, with some reciprocation from him. For the most part, though, he just looked blissful—and tired.
Toward evening, we found Braveheart alone but zig-zagging and sniffing the ground a lot as if looking for a bear—maybe her mate. How could he leave her like that? We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
We worried a bit today when Jewel’s GPS showed she was visiting a few houses. We checked and found she was eating dandelion flowers and stems which are plentiful in yards right now. Herbie and Fern rested high in a white pine. One of the yards had a sign saying welcome. We held our breath when Jewel crossed a paved road multiple times as she was waiting for her cubs to come down. Everything worked out okay, though. Her cubs eventually came down and they are all deep in the forest again.
June and her yearlings also found some dandelions to eat in her clover patch. Dandelion flowers and stems are a common food in this hungry time of year between the emerging vegetation becoming mature and unpalatable and ant brood not yet being available. Unfortunately, they often grow in people’s yards. That’s why a landowner shot One-eyed Jack in the face with a .410 some years back—eating dandelions in his neighbor’s yard. That’s why we worried about Jewel when she did it today.
A video of Jewel and family from May 17 is posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-EcWLhNkIA.
The lilac bushes that held perhaps 100 Monarch butterflies a couple days ago had only 2 today. The Monarchs have moved on.
Today began with mist shrouding the study area and giving the forest a mysterious look. The mist gave way to a beautiful day.
NABC Manager/Curator Donna Andrews is commended for instituting the Bear Keeper Classes. Many of the participants are going on to learn more about the Bear Center, its bears, and its exhibits. They volunteer to feed Ted, Lucky, and Honey, answer questions from visitors, and work to make the Bear Center a better place. Judy Thon said she volunteers because she wants to help and feels truly appreciated. Lynn and Sue echo the appreciation. With a budget a tenth that of similar institutions, the Bear Center relies heavily on volunteers. One of the needs for volunteers was identified in the survey Lily Fans conducted this past year—the need for knowledgeable people to answer questions from visitors. We could use even more people doing that. A link to the Volunteer Application can be found in the left hand column of the Volunteer page http://www.bear.org/website/volunteer.html.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center