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Bears - UPDATE April 6, 2019

Two years ago today, Lucky went for his first swim of the year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TaWE3IpjW8. It was 50°F, and he found open water following a week with temperatures mostly in the high 50’s and as high as 60°F. We should see those temperatures soon now this year.Mink named clearMink named clear

In Pennsylvania, mom is licking drops from the ceiling of her den under the deck. Here is the picture of that and of her licking drops from a leaf that we missed yesterday. As she licked the ceiling in today’s photo, she is using the same spot on her tongue that they use to touch nuts and berries to draw them into the mouth. Using that spot about an inch back from the tip of the tongue, they can touch several hazelnuts and easily bring them into their mouths clinging to the tongue. I suspect they activate suction cups to do that. That spot on the tongue is not sticky to the touch. It’s something no one knows. I’m only guessing that it is suction cups.

PA Mom and CubPA Mom and CubThe face to face open-mouthed picture looks like play but reminds me of the reciprocal tongue-licking that they use as a form of bonding. I don’t know if that has been seen with these bears yet.

It was nice to see the video of the vigorous play that ended with a contented nursing session. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sqBl7NqbR8.

PA BearPA Bear licking deck aboveThe Black Bear Field Courses have only 12 spots left. People ask me what happens in a course, which is always different. The short answer is that we learn directly from the bears. Each course starts mid-morning on Sunday at the Wildlife Research Institute and ends mid day on Wednesday at the North American Bear Center. In between, we are immersed in bears. Class size is usually 8 or occasionally 9. In addition to learning from the bears, we take an easy walk and learn about bear sign, bear food, and bear dens. When bears give us a break, we learn through photo/video/sound lectures about black bear life and language and why these powerful animals are not the dangerous animals most people think. Actually, the bears do the best job of teaching that. We all get to know each other and feel the joy of being with like-minded people who can’t believe what they are experiencing. Around the table with home style meals, we share stories and have good discussions. Many of the participants have been to numerous courses. We meet neighbors who have come to know bears very well in this nature-loving community and who invite us all over to see special bears like Lily, Shadow, and bears that many of us have grown up with on the web and are finally meeting. We pontoon together to see other wildlife and visit the den where Hope was born. Early risers sometimes paddle canoes on the quiet lake. Along the way people are taking pictures to cherish of bears and other wildlife. PA Mom photo referenced from April 5 updatePA Mom photo referenced
on April 5 update
The course ends with a closeup meeting with Ted at the Bear Center. The most common description of the course is “life-changing.” It could be called a once in a lifetime experience except for the fact that so many come back for more. We don’t know of anything like it being offered anywhere else in the world. A wonderful result is that many of the participants develop a passion to do what they can to help bears by spreading the truth about them. All proceeds from the courses go to the nonprofit WRI to continue research and education. The web site for the Wildlife Research Institute is: www.bearstudy.org. For registration, see https://www.bearstudy.org/website/field-study-courses.html. Or contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Judy Thon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information.

I always look forward to these courses.

A nice thing today was getting my good camera back from repair. While I was seeing if it would focus on a log, I unexpectedly saw a mink face. Almost startling. I clicked. It felt good.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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