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How Berry Shortage is Affecting the Bears - UPDATE July 23, 2020

RC and her 4 cubsRC and her 4 cubs

In this year of severe berry shortage, 21-year-old RC is trying to make milk for 4 cubs (3 females and a male) and having trouble. That’s her crossing a road with them following. They are only a quarter to half the size of Pixie’s 2 cubs (one shown climbing a tree).

Pixie is a 5-year-old, a daughter of 20-year-old Donna who is a daughter of Blackheart who is a daughter of 33-year-old Shadow (current ages). RC is Shadow’s daughter. (Click here to see Shadow's Clan Family Tree)

Pixie's male cubPixie's male cubDuring bad food years in my old study area (1969-1987), I found that many cubs and yearlings died, mothers could not maintain pregnancies, and many bears sought garbage and bird seeds. In desperation, they searched from house to house, went to garbage dumps, and traveled to cities as far as 68 miles outside their usual home ranges.

The current food scarcity may parallel the record failure of 1985, but I’m hoping this eases with the ripening of hazelnuts that should be a reasonable crop.

Now that RC has arrived in this area where people provide food that is keeping bears out of trouble as well as possible, RC will stay out of trouble and her cubs will likely survive.

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

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