The Juliet Den Cam is working consistently and providing us with a great view into her den. She has mostly been sleeping soundly with relatively brief active periods of licking snow and rearranging bedding. We are all anxious for cubs. The wait is on!
Holly is giving us our first opportunity to see how a lone bear spends the winter. With no den-mate to interact with, she mostly sleeps—interspersed with active periods the Den Watchers are capturing.
We learned that the Syrian brown bear cubs in last night’s picture were 5 days old, which means they were born on January 11. The owner says he has been with that bear when she went into labor, and he watched her actually pull the cubs out with her teeth, put them on her chest, and lick them dry.
More on cubs. We know someone who rehabs wildlife by becoming their mother and taking them on long walks so they can become familiar with the forest. To release them, he lets them expand their range around his property. One animal he rehabbed was a female bear cub. She left him as a yearling (the time black bears usually leave their mothers) and stayed away for months at a time as she grew up doing what bears do.
But these last two years, she returned around the beginning of December. That’s when natural food gets scarce and is close to the time bears there den up. He provided her with a den full of straw.
Four days ago, on January 15, she gave birth to a single male cub at the age of 3. Today, he crawled in and took this picture. The picture shows the shape of the mouth and tongue that are adapted for suckling at this point. It shows the short fur that we don’t usually get to see on the Den Cams because the cubs are usually under the mother at this age. The eyes are still closed, of course. He said the cub has tripled in size in the four days since birth.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA