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Gerry, Faith, and More - UPDATE June 25, 2020

A favorite memory of Gerry happened on a visit to Grandfather Mountain on June 15, 1997. Faith at 9 years oldFaith at 9 years oldI hadn’t seen Gerry for nearly 3 years. A group of us went into Gerry’s big enclosure. Hugh Morton and some of his friends began giving Gerry treats. I sat down next to her, but she just kept accepting treats. After a few minutes, she suddenly twisted her head and put her nose to my mouth and nose. Recognition. She jumped on me to play like we used to and hadn’t done with anyone for years. We rolled around with her mouthing me and holding me--all without harm. A black bear rule about play is to never bite hard. Knowing that, whenever our play had gotten too rough in the old days, I had an exit strategy. From a lying down position, I put an arm in her mouth, grabbed a foreleg and with my arm still in her mouth rolled her on her back. I then let go of her leg and began stroking her belly. This put her in a different mood. Each time, she got a blissful look in her eyes and lay still and relaxed. She never hurt me. The picture of Gerry from 1992 shows her gently and playfully mouthing the arm of one of her cubs when she was still in the wild.

Gerry playing with cub 1992Gerry playing with cub in 1992The picture of Faith is from our meeting 3 days ago, but I wanted to include it because her face and eyes look so gentle.

Yesterday, Mike Johnson spotted a Luna Moth on the outside of a window at the WRI. A few hours later, the sun was shining through it with a background of dark shadows. I’d never seen one lighted like that before and had to click.

As I sit here at my computer, I’m watching Daisy, great granddaughter of Luna MothLuna MothShadow, and feeling thankful that so many of Shadows descendents have survived so much longer than the average longevity for black bears. In that line of descent, Shadow is 33, daughter RC is 21, granddaughter Bow is 14, and Daisy is 9. Keeping the trend going, up a tree is Daisy’s daughter from last year. All are examples of the peaceful coexistence that typifies this community.

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

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