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A Good Memory and Pretty Faces - UPDATE August 6, 2020

This 10-minute video captures good memories of Ted and Lucky making friends and Lucky losing his fear as he goes all in for raucous play with big Ted in 2007 and 2008. Ted and Lucky Make Friends - 2007 NABC 

ColleenColleenIn the wild, a treat was seeing beautiful Colleen who I haven’t seen for years. In fact, we’re seeing a lot of bears we haven’t seen for years and we suspect we are getting bears from Canada where the spring drought would have an even worse effect with the thinner soil over bedrock that would dry out even more. I remember the drought of 1985 when radio-collared bears that had spent their lives in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near the Canadian Border trekked south over a hundred kilometers to Lake Superior. They did this across northeastern Minnesota and in adjacent Canada. The lake funneled them to population centers. Seventy were killed in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and 90 were killed in Duluth. That story will be a chapter in my book. Bears were everywhere. When I went to sleep with the windows open, I’d hear shots. I believe many have softened their fear of black bears today. When a bear was up a tree in the middle of Ely a couple weeks ago, police were protecting the bear rather than shooting it as I mentioned in the update that night. I also remember that in 1985 there were three places where bears were not a problem. One was my diversionary feeding area around a U. S. Forest Service campground. Another was a 10-mile radius around the huge Grand Marais Dump which also served as a tourist attraction. The bears there were accustomed to people and were being fed. The local wildlife manager told me that the only bear complaint he had there was about a bear sleeping harmlessly in someone’s yard. The third area was the very place we are doing the feeding study here in Eagles Nest Township. They had been feeding bears since 1961. They were accustomed to people at a dozen feeding sites, and the Ely Echo did an article about the lack of problems there.Colleens cubColleens cub

Colleen has been seen miles away from here, and we knew she had 3 cubs—two females and a male. Two of the cubs stick with her and the third spends a lot of time taking refuge in trees. Willingness to trust varies greatly—even among littermates.

Colleen can trust and remember. I believe she recognized me. I spoke to her and she responded. It was as if she had just seen me yesterday. She came confidently. She looked intense but meant no harm. She was actually calm—at least toward me, although not toward bears that came too close to her cubs. It was good to see her. She is 17 years old—part of Donna’s first litter (2003).

I like the picture of her coming. Her face has almost the same rich gold as Ursula’s. As with most others like her, she has never caused a problem. A reason for that is that bears in this community do not become as desperately hungry as in areas without feeding. Bears in this community spend their time finding what they can in the woods; but when food is scarce, they go to the feeding sites where they are welcome instead of from house to house. The food shortage this year has been of crisis proportions. The people who are feeding are trying their best to go the extra mile to keep the bears fed in order to protect the bears and minimize problems. Nothing is perfect, but from what I hear things could be a lot worse. Wild foods are now becoming available to an extent, which should help.

Colleen’s cub is in a tree keenly watching a bear pass by.

Colleen and all her cubs have beautiful faces to me, and they have a good mom to learn from.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center


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