Suspense in a Treetop - UPDATE January 9, 2015

Lucky's denLucky's den - Jan 8, 2015In this 126-second flashback from April 15, 2007, June had my heart in my throat watching the flimsy balsam fir (Abies balsamea) treetop bend, knowing how brittle they are

The cubs are up their first tree. Mother June wants to head back to the den, but the cubs aren’t responding to her calls like cubs do in books. In fact, we see the lack of response more often than not. But June is determined. She went up and got a cub, grunting sweetly all the way, as we have seen with other mothers.

Lucky's denLucky's den - Jan 8, 2015Lily was closest. June looked for the best place to carefully bite to pull her free. Mothers are cautious in these situations, not biting or pulling too hard. If the cub yells or is too hard to pull free, she will give up, as we’ve seen. June finds some fur on the Lily’s neck. Lily doesn’t squawk and June carefully pulls her free and carries her to the ground. One step closer to the den.

A correction to last night’s update. The picture of Lucky’s den was actually his old den from last year that is empty this year. The pictures of his den of this year with its untracked snow at the entrance is pictured here. It’s the den Holly used last year. Lucky’s selection of this den this year and his reluctance to share it with a playful young friend when he had hibernation on his mind is likely what led to Holly digging the wild den she is using.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center