Samantha, RC, Tasha, Holly - UPDATE May 15, 2017

To complicate Samantha’s story more, she was unusually nervous here when she arrived but eventually settled down and spent the night with the yearlings at the big white pine at the edge of the woods. RCRCAnd this same mother who was chasing the yearlings away a couple days ago, lay back to invite nursing, which they did.

RC and her two yearlings: Ohio (female) and Rambler (male) stopped by today. Still no Valentine (female), but Rambler was gone over a week before he returned.

The veterinarian checked Tasha today and put her on an antibiotic to prevent infection and on Deramaxx to ease any pain she might be having. Sharon the Bear Keeper said she would confine Tasha to the Cabin pen for the rest of the week. Tasha is playing in her water tub and walking okay although favoring a back leg. After this week, Sharon will let Tasha out with Ted and then put them back in their pens and let Lucky and Holly out. That will continue through June until the mating season is over. Then we will assess what to do next. We suspect, as many of you have said, too, that the mating season and being in estrus made Holly more aggressive. It might be that Holly detected that Tasha is in estrus, also, making them rivals. In the wild, females are bears that are territorial. After family break-up, male siblings sometimes hang out and continue playing together, while female siblings become rivals for territory as they begin carving pieces out of their mothers’ territories. Yet, a captive facility told us they lean toward having more females and fewer males because the females get along better. They castrate the males early in life. We waited too long to castrate Lucky and did so only after he attacked Ted. We later learned that once a male gets attitude, castration doesn’t fix it. We don’t want to over-confine Tasha and make her bored. Too much confinement is not good for intelligent, curious animals like bears. We’ll be watching and adjusting as we try to balance safety and freedom for Tasha.

OhioOhioWe’ll also be watching to see if Holly makes any progress with Ted who tends to ignore females. She approached him a couple days ago. We’ll all see where Lucky ends up in all this.

What happened between Holly and Tasha? Tasha climbed the big white pine “Cub Tree” to escape Holly as usual. Holly came on up. Donna was working on the flowers after hours and heard a commotion. She checked. She said Holly was on the lower branch that Lucky sometimes uses. Tasha was on the next branch up and was within reach. Donna hadn’t seen the whole thing, though. Bites on the back feet could result from Tasha clinging to the trunk facing up as black bears must, and Holly coming up underneath her.

The sound system at the Bear Center must be fixed. I know technicians have been working hard on that. Scott the Director will be doing a live broadcast tomorrow at 1 PM Bear Time.

RC’s yearling Ohio showed the identifying map of Ohio on her chest.

Thank you for all you do.

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