Bear Week - UPDATE May 17, 2017

It’s Bear Week on Fox News Channel 9 in Minneapolis, and it’s the Bear Center’s turn tonight and Friday. It airs on Channel 9 at 9 PM and 10 PM. I’m not sure what it will say or who will say it, Braveheart and her cubsBraveheart and her cubsbut I know the reporter, who is also the news anchor, was happy with the shoot. If you miss it on TV, you will be able to find it here: http://www.fox9.com/news/bear-week/255279581-story.

SamanthaSamanthaLast night, Samantha was still with her 4 yearlings. Victor stopped by for a bite to eat and to get weighed. Samantha had unkind words for him and chased him away. Victor did what she said even though he is twice her weight. There might come a day when he wants her to think kindly of him. Meanwhile, Peggy the Volunteer Assistant Bookkeeper, did what drives her to volunteer for that tedious job. Intrigued by bears and their interactions, she scampered around outside to record the moment to be able to verify her identification of Victor to me with pictures she was trying to take by flashlight—and coming through. At midnight, she recorded Victor looking much better than he has looked with fresh wounds after mating season. Although he runs from ferocious females, he is willing to step into battle with males his size. He can look pretty battered at times, but he heals well. I had to look twice to make sure it was him. It is. He has had the faint notch on the inner edge of his right ear for many years. Also, the inner edges of his eyebrows are distorted from past gaping wounds that have healed in way that gives him a timid look. Beyond that, his right eyebrow patch is much bigger than his left one, and he has a distinctive white patch on his chest. He was 4-6 years old when we first saw him in June 2005, which makes him 16-18 now. It’s good to see his picture from last night. I look forward to seeing him close up, perhaps with participants in the Black Bear Field Courses.

 Victor VictorThe other picture is of Samantha lying at the base of the big white pine that held her yearlings. She is looking at Victor on the scale. She was tolerant at first, but then decided it would be best for Victor to just go.

These same bears that communicate frankly and brusquely with each other are timid and gentle with us. They know we’re not bears, and they know we are not a threat. No matter how keyed up they might be toward each other, we’ve never seen that attitude carry over toward us.

Speaking of the Black Bear Field Courses, we are opening a course for August 6-9, a prime time. It has 2 people so far. For that course, which doesn’t show on the website yet, give me a call at 218-365-4480 to register. Six slots are open in that one yet.

3rd graders from Twin Harbors visit NABC3rd graders from Twin Harbors visit NABCOn another topic, the 8th Annual Lilypad Picnic is open for registration at www.lilypadpicnic.com . It’s July 21-23 this year. Looking forward to that.

Peggy watched as Samantha disappeared for periods once Victor was gone. While she was waiting for Samantha to return to her yearlings, a northern flying squirrel glided in for its share of sunflower seeds. Northern flying squirrels are quite tame by nature. Peggy snapped a picture, then noticed it was after 3:30 AM and she’d better get some sleep or she wouldn’t have a clear mind for numbers in the morning. She is one example of a volunteer this week when the Bear Center is recognizing the value of our many volunteers.

Another example today was the work Bear Educators do at the Bear Center. Many busloads of students are arriving this year as word spreads what we have to offer. Part of what we have to offer are dedicated Bear Educators that make everyone’s experience better.

Flying squirrelFlying squirrelSo many volunteers do so much every day on the social media, behind the scenes, and in many other ways. It all helps our growing educational program, bears, and people’s ability to enjoy the woods. I hope the TV blip tonight and Friday helps with that, too.

A picture just arrived letting me know that Braveheart made her first appearance of the year and has 2 cubs. No word yet on their sexes. It shows Braveheart and the cubs at one of the houses that invites the Black Bear Field Courses over meet special bears when they arrive. These houses will also be inviting a film team over in June as part of helping this team from England with a documentary they are making about mother-cub interactions.

No sign of Quill yet. It’s getting into the time when we expect to see mothers with new cubs. Braveheart was the first to show. We’re especially waiting to see what Shadow, Lily, Faith, and maybe Ellie and Ember have to show us, among others.

Thank you for all you do.

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

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