The chest blaze that many black bears have is one of the first identifying marks we look for, but it’s easy to make a mistake. These three pictures of Winnie, a non-clan bear, show why. In the first picture, with two of her yearlings in the background, she shows a modest blaze with dark fur separating two lines. In the picture with her sitting up a bit, the blaze looks more prominent but is still two lines--misleading. Then she spread her arms and revealed the full, prominent solid blaze that looks like a W, hence the name Winnie. We can’t always get the bears to spread their arms like that, leaving us confused sometimes with bears that we don’t know that well.
In the picture of the sweet yearling female whose identity we’re still working on, the tiny blaze is a single white line about 2 inches long and only as wide as a pencil. It’s barely visible a little to her right of center. First taker of the tubBut if a person can see it and knows which bear has that, it’s a distinctive marking.
Chloe stopped by, and I got the closest look so far at her brown cub. He looked adorable,and it was nice to see how closely he sticks to mom. His color looked extra bright in the setting sun, but I’d like to find a name that reflects his color. We’ve already used the names Rusty, Cinnamon, and Goldie. I thought of Copper, but it doesn’t really sound like a name. It doesn’t have to start with a C to match Chloe like I was thinking before.
Along the way on this hot (93°F), sunny day, we filled the tub. It wasn’t an hour before we had our first taker—this young adult male that looks bigger than he is, still in his winter fur. He was just passing through, sniffing the ground a lot, but not too distracted by mating season to cool off for a few minutes.
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA