Hope Learning Center – UPDATE February 14, 2013

A yearling wakes up  A yearling wakes up Today was another catch-up day plus talking to the local college Bear Ecology class at the Bear Center.  We also saw names you are suggesting for the Lily’s cubs.   

Play begins...Play begins...For a break, Lynn watched the latest Nature Program about wolves, wood buffaloes, and a bear filmed at the northern edge of Alberta, Canada.  Super.  Jeff Turner filmed it from a helicopter and with a long lens from the ground.  The helicopter camera looked like the BBC helicopter camera that was able to fill the frame with a human from a mile away and zoom back for panoramas the show the curvature of the earth.  Jeff had help filming from Jamie McPherson who was here filming Dot in her den for the BBC in early 2003.  The credits showed names like Lu Carbyn, the wolf expert for that Wood Buffalo National Park, and Charlie Russell, a top Canadian bear expert.

Play bites are gentlePlay bites are gentleThe shots were spectacular wild shots of a wolf pack bringing down wood buffaloes to feed their pups and spectacular wild shots of wolves defending their den area against a black bear that wandered by.  The narrative introduced drama there by suggesting the bear might have been after the pups, but that would be highly unlikely.  If the bear was attracted to anything at that time of year when natural foods are scarce, it would likely have been meat scraps brought back to the den area for the pups.  We remember a bear from the old study back in the 1970’s that regularly cruised through a wolf rendezvous area checking for meat scraps in fall after berries and hazelnuts had disappeared.

The play wakes up JewelTheir play wakes up JewelSimilarly, Adolf Murie, back in 1944, described a confrontation between a grizzly family and a wolf pack at a wolf den.  The bears were after meat, not the pups.  Murie wrote, “The 4 bears remained at the den for an hour, feeding on meat scraps and uncovering meat the wolves had buried.  During all this time, the bears were under attack.  When the pillaging was complete, the bears moved up the slope.”

20130214 Jewel 14 16Jewel and yearlingsThe Nature program was a chance to see true nature in action like few programs have achieved.  The rare shots by Jeff Turner and Jamie McPherson reminded Lynn of the rare views we get daily in Lily and Jewel’s dens and the rare shots the BBC got for their documentaries of the wild bears here.  Even with Jeff Turner’s very long lens, the wolves had to have become accustomed (i.e. habituated) to him and his partner to go about their business ignoring them.  New technology, new research techniques, and plain old perseverance are letting the public learn more and more while scientists do the same.

20130214 Jewel 14 16aJewel and yearlingsAnd that’s what we want to show classes at the Hope Learning Center, life size or bigger views of wild bears simply going about their lives.  You are making it possible.  At this moment, Valentines for the Hope Learning Center total $11,010 at http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Valentines-For-The-Hope-Learning-Center.  As a result, the following items will each have a special label saying, "Gift of Lily Fans."  Thank you!

  • Widescreen theater projector
  • 2 SMARTboard Interactive Touch Whiteboard 800 Series
  • 2 SMARTboard mobile stands
  • Surround sound speakers
  • Accessories
  • Compatible laptop computer
  • Speaker’s podium

20130214 Jewel 4 32Jewel rests her head on a yearlingThe Lily Fan leading this campaign will leave the GiveMN Valentine’s donation page open until Sunday night at 11:59 PM CST.   Your gifts through then will help furnish the classroom with 80 chairs and 26 tables.  Thank you very much for what you’ve done and are doing to make this possible.  

20130214 Jewel 6 53Yearlings are all earsIn the dens today, we watched as Lily once again raked woodchips into a wall in front of the camera.  The camera is positioned higher so we can see over the wall better this time.  In Jewel's den we saw play between Herbie and Fern for the first time.  It was play in slow motion compared to the raucous play we see in the summer months—but play nonetheless.  See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOEx7nvkd4.

Thank you for all you do.

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

All pictures were taken today unless otherwise noted.

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