Shadow, Oliana, Lilypadders – UPDATE July 20, 2012
People have been remarking how long it’s been since they saw old Shadow (25), the matriarch of the clan we’re studying. She’s probably been off working hard for berries and ant pupae like her radio-collared descendants have been doing. Tonight, she showed up, letting us know she’s okay. We’ll have to check the records to see how long she was gone.
She actually came to the Research Center, which is rare. We’re lucky to get a visit per year from her. Then she surprised us by getting on the scale and showing us that she is doing well—292.5 pounds. A flash picture showed she still has 5 of her 6 lower incisors and that a tick found her left ear this late in the season. The local ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) become fairly scarce by this time of year and usually disappear by mid August.
We caught up to Sharon who might be trying to establish a territory in the area she keeps visiting southwest of Tower, MN. She might be running into opposition as evidenced by a long, fresh scar on her head. We changed her GPS batteries to get more data on where she forages and where she settles.
We snuck a short walk in with Juliet and family—hoping to see what they were foraging on. By the time we caught up to them we were drenched in sweat on this 84 F day. The bears must have been hot as well because Juliet soon led her cubs to a small pond and they all went for a swim. As tempting as the water was, we stayed ashore taking pictures and video of their antics. Soon after they left the pond area, the skies opened up and it rained. Cameras were stashed to avoid damage and we said our good-byes to the bears.
Oliana’s leg wound is healing well, but she has a new wound—a deep cut just behind her left ear. We gave her antibiotics today and documented the progress of her old wound and examined her new one best we could. The new cut is bothering her, and she keeps pawing at her ear. We’re hoping the antibiotics help this injury heal, too. We have a little uncertainty about her identity, are wondering if she really was the bear hit by a car 9 miles away, and would like to know how she got this last injury.
We had supper with the Pond Chatters, and what a joy it was to meet these enthusiastic people who have done so much for education and fundraising. Their latest victory was the two benches they had Charlie Meyer make for the Bear Center and the Amazon Wish List items they bought with the extra money raised. They gathered in Ely to celebrate the online friendships they have forged and to meet those friends face to face.
The long-awaited Lilypad Picnic is tomorrow. Lily fans have worked hard to plan an evening of fun for virtual picnic-goers. On Saturday from 4-7 PM CT "Saturday Night Fever" takes place at Lily the Black Bear on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lily.the.black.bear) with FUNdraisers, contests, games, and much joviality. These activities will be followed by the 7-9 PM CT broadcast of a Bonfire at the NABC (www.bear.org/website/bonfire-webcam-live-video.html).
A storm today was followed by beautiful clouds and calm water with crisp reflections in attractive light.
Today, the last remnants of the Jewel den cam equipment were removed from the woods. Intern Daniel Simpson and his father Scott helped wind the cables on spools—ready for the next den cam season!
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center