“We’re online!”

Lynn installing_den_cam_-_Stroner_-_20120107Lynn installing camera in Jewel's den - Jan 7, 2012That’s what Sue shouted at almost exactly 5 PM.  And the picture in Jewel’s den isn’t that bad for a first try.  The low entrance and the high frozen mound in front of the den make it hard to aim higher like we’d like.  We don’t know how to eliminate the bright area in the upper right.  If we push the camera in past it, we’d reduce how much of Jewel we could see.  We could chop away at the frozen mound but we don’t want to make that kind of disturbance. 

Lynn -_20120107Lynn heading for the den - Jan 7, 2012As it was, she was calm.  She recognized us, heard our familiar words, and saw our familiar actions.  The picture shows her calm look.  Once again, we are thankful that the trust we have established with a few bears has opened the door to a research opportunity.     

Jim Sue_Ted_-_20120107Jim, Sue, and Ted - Jan 7, 2012

Jewel was calmer than the first time we gave Lily a den cam on January 8, 2010—2 years ago tomorrow.  We think Lily showed us the problem.  She reacted whenever we touched or moved the camera tube.  Did the long, hollow tube make odd sounds—perhaps sounds we couldn’t hear?  This year, we filled Lily’s and Jewel’s tubes with bed sheets cut into strips.  No more hollow sounds and no reactions from either bear.     

Sue stringing_cables_-_20120107Sue strings cables - Jan 7, 2012Some of the crew stayed up till after 2:00 AM readying equipment and the install started off smoothly.  We were unsure how Jewel would react, but her calm demeanor put us at ease and the install of the den cam and the PTZ camera at the den went well.  Thanks to the new cable handling technique, the cables were strung with relative ease.  Then our problems began.

Ted pulling_cable_-_20120107Ted pulling cables - Jan 7, 2012No heat in the shed.  No power from the solar panels.  Inadequate cell signal for our whimpy replacement antenna.  But thanks to our talented technology team—and a quick (?) trip to the Verizon store Virginia, MN—the issues were resolved one by one.  Many thanks to Jim Stroner and Ted Parvu for sticking with it on our end, and Bill Powers of Pixcontroller for his phone support.

Will Jewel have cubs?  One of the first things we noticed with the Den Cam was the lack of bedding.  Does that mean she won’t have cubs?  But like Lily did before she had cubs, Jewel has been out gathering bedding.  In the 24 hours before we arrived, she was out shredding a nearby log and raking the wood chips into the den, leaving a trail of them (visible to the left in the picture at top) into the den.

Jewel and_camera_-_20120107Jewel in den - Jan 7, 2012Jewel in den - Oct 22, 2011Jewel in den - Oct 22, 2011Does Jewel have her collar on yet?  The picture from October 22 plainly showed the collar and ribbons.  We couldn’t see anything in the picture from our next visit on December 27 or in the Den Cam image today. 

Jewel -_20120107Jewel chewing foot pads - Jan 7, 2012The first view of her with the Den Cam showed an activity we wrote about back in 1974 http://tinyurl.com/Shedding-Foot-Pads.  She was chewing food pads to remove them.  The article tells that story. 

We’re off and learning once again. 

Thank you for all you do. 

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