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Water Action and a Sign of Age - UPDATE August 4, 2020

Bear and stick in pond bear and stick in pond


I saw the best water action I can remember today but caught only a bit of it. The rest of the time I was clicking away with no card in the camera. It started with a bear in a pond noticing a stick to investigate like Ted, Lucky, Holly, and Tasha do. The bear rose up and pulled it down and began to manipulate it.

Then I spotted a bear swimming across the lake out my window. I made it down to the dock in time get it swimming, getting out, and looking toward me from across the lake when I made shhhh noise. I heard splashing elsewhere and tried to see what it was. Then two bears got up on top of the beaver lodge that is in the marsh. Good sun. No pictures. I didn’t check the camera in my hurry.

VDot left canineVDot gave us a good look at his left upper canine tooth when he twitched his upper lip to get rid of a pesky fly. The pattern of whitish enamel on the tooth and yellowish cementum on the root shows his advanced age. As the root grows, it makes the tooth protrude a little more each year. At three or four years of age, the place where the enamel and cementum meet on the tooth reaches the gum line. Over the years the amount of cementum visible extends farther and farther beyond the gum line. We first saw VDot as a young adult male in 2007 and he is not as old as Jack, but he is showing a lot of cementum. It was our first look at that with him, thanks to the flies. We would have liked to measure the distance from the gum line to the enamel but we thought that might be too much of an intrusion on a sleeping bear. They say to let sleeping bears lie. With this bear it would not be because of danger, we just don’t like to disturb him. VDot’s 13-year history of knowing us will be a chapter in the book.

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

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