Lily the Sweetheart

Lily squeezing out of her den
Lily was a sweetheart once again.  As soon as she heard Lynn’s voice and footsteps, she moved to the den entrance and confidently emerged.

Lynn tossed a few grapes into the snow to occupy her.  Jason set about fixing the Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera so we will be able to see what is happening outside the den on occasion.  Lynn tried to express milk from a nipple.  Nothing.  Does that mean she has no milk or that Hope’s frequent suckling got it all before Lynn came?  If Lily has any milk at all, it isn’t much.  Lynn stroked Lily’s back and tried to palpate her vulva to check for swelling as a sign of impending parturition.  Lily looked at Lynn and sat down before he could determine anything.  Last year on January 15, Lily emerged and stood with her hindquarters toward Lynn.  It was the first time he realized there is great swelling before birth.  He had never seen it reported in the literature.

Lynn at Lily's den as seen by the PTZ camera
Lynn explored possibilities for a better view with the camera.  The big mound of bedding Lily has raked up makes it hard to see and get data.  We wanted to put the camera at a different angle.  He dug down through two feet of snow beside the den mound and tried to poke a little hole for the den cam.  No chance.  The soil is frozen solid.

Lily was standing outside the den with her hindquarters toward the den entrance.  Holding his camera, Lynn reached into the den behind her to snap a picture of her hindquarters from entrance.  Inside the den, Hope didn’t understand.  She nervously slapped the ground and blew, making Lily whirl and blow too, wondering what danger had set Hope off.  Lynn was not a suspect.  Seeing no danger, Lily turned back to the grapes, but she kept glancing toward the entrance.  Hope vocalized, and Lily crawled in to check her more closely.  All vocalizations during the visit were from Hope except for the brief blow from Lily.   Lily never said a bad word or made a bad face.  She appeared calm except for the moment of anxiety when Hope blew.

Lily in den after Lynn repositioned the camera
The Den Cam ended up in a bad position, so we’ll have to remedy that soon.  It got bumped several times as Lily crawled past.  We’ll try to put it back where it was for now.  The best chance for a better view is to place the Den Cam squarely in the den entrance instead of off to the side like it is now, but that would mean Lily would move it out of position whenever she went in or out.  To put it there for better views and better data, we’ll have to wait until after the new cubs are born and Lily is occupied by the cubs and less willing to emerge when Lynn visits.  The wall of bedding Lily has made will continue to be a problem, but we can make it a better view than it is now.

We are hopeful for better sound with less hiss when the new amplifier arrives from Bill Rice.

Back at the Research Headquarters, we checked the operation of the new Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera outside the den.  We can say that the first time we used it we saw wildlife.  Mansfield the Mouse (vole…) was running around near the den entrance.

shopper_Page_08Your names as donors to the Ely Area Food Shelf for Christmas appeared in the Ely Shopper this week.

To easily enlarge update pictures by clicking on them, access the updates from rather than Facebook.  The most recent update can always be found in the upper right-hand corner of the main page at All updates (for the past year!) can be found on at . There is also a link to all the daily updates just to the right of the Lily Den Cam at

Emails raving about the BBC series ‘The Bear Family & Me’ are still coming in. A nice review can be seen at

Thank you for all you do.

—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center