Holly and Lucky, Juliet and Sound – UPDATE January 13, 2014

JulietLily Fans caught great videos of Holly being a friendly, active bear.

In the first video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CkXNQ6IIJY, Holly is doing what we hoped she would do in her den—meet and greet Lucky!  She repeatedly was up at the 4-inch hole between the two dens.  There is no sound with this Den Cam, but we suspect Lucky is happy to meet a stimulating new potential play partner, and from the number of times Holly was at the hole, we think she feels the same.  We hope she still feels like that when she finds that Lucky is at least 5 times her size.

JuiietIn the next video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW3IfDjOmEI, Holly shows her housekeeping and raking skills.  Normally, mothers take care of those duties as we saw in the wild Den Cams, but cubs can do it, too.  In the wild, orphaned cubs make dens that are as good those made by adult bears.  If they have a mother, they help with the raking.  Holly knows to rake the straw into a pile and then get in it.

Apparently feeling frisky during this time of day, she eventually runs out of her den https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200569046468681&set=o.263755115498&type=2&theater, showing the same disregard for energy conservation the wild bears have shown us.  

JulietBack sleeping tucked in her elaborate nest, she doesn’t react to the busy un-named vole whose nest might have been disturbed by Holly’s raking http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCXzO6MNil4

In Juliet’s wild den, the team really came through today to get sound going before she gives birth, which could be any day.  Jim Stroner started things off in Minneapolis by missing a meeting to buy new cable for the microphone and a helmet for the snowmobile driver.  Lorie Kennedy then drove 120 miles from Brainerd to Minneapolis to pick up the items, drove 140 miles to Mike Johnson’s house in Cloquet to hand them off to him, and then drove 100 miles back home.  Mike drove the items nearly 100 miles to meet Ted Parvu who had meanwhile loaded up the snowmobile.  Together, they snowmobiled to the Den Shed, replaced the faulty cable, and got the job done.  Mike then drove the 100 miles back home.

JulietAll we can say is a grateful “Thank you” for making it possible to include the moans of labor, the grunts of greeting the newborn cubs (likely 3 of them), the first cries of the cubs, and the sounds of licking as Juliet cleans them.

Last night we asked educators interested in using den cam footage with their students to fill out the form at http://www.bearstudy.org/website/educator-signup.html.  Eighty-one teachers from 30 states plus Guam have already completed the form.  Their enthusiastic comments are impressive.  One 2nd grade teacher from California wrote:

Juliet… hibernating bears named Jewel and Lily have provided unique insights into animal behavior that are available nowhere else.  Students are taught how to observe and record data using the Den Cam footage.  For example, students document the number of baby bear vocalizations during the 20-minute daily observation. They then graph and compare data over time.  Identification skills are also taught using the Den Cams.  Bear morphology including size, ear shape, and nose patterns are used to identify specific bears.  Vocalization and behaviors are also observed and recorded.  Access to the Den Cams is an invaluable and irreplaceable educational tool.  Loss of this resource would have a significant negative impact on the students' educational opportunities. 

We look forward to being able to provide video footage from Juliet’s Den Cam to these educators and their students.

Thank you for all you do.

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

All photos were captured today from Juliet's Den Cam.