Shadow’s Big Clan - UPDATE December 16, 2017

Shadow’s big clan includes the 108 litters (276 cubs, 2.56 per litter) we have documented on the female side of the clan plus however many cubs the males went off and sired and the litters that female young grew up and produced outside the area we could document.Shadow 6-30-17Shadow 6-30-17 (now gray)

Shadow has a lot to be proud of. In addition to being the matriarch of the largest clan ever documented, she can be proud of retaining her reproductive ability longer than any female black bear on record—wild or captive.

Shadow 5-12-97Shadow 5-12-97The oldest mothers I know of were both 26. Old 641 was shot at the age of 29 ¾ and hadn’t produced cubs at 28 or 29 as might have been expected. The other mother who produced a cub at 26, also a Minnesota bear, lived until 39 without producing another cub.

Shadow surprised us by producing Spanky at 28. The next age when she could possibly have had a cub was 30. When she didn’t have a cub then, it might have meant that she was done, or maybe that at her age she needed another year or two to build up for another successful pregnancy. She was seen with a male on June 19 this past mating season, and she is keeping us in suspense to see if she has a cub with her this spring when she is 31.

In the spring, we also hope to determine the sex of Ursula’s fourth cub and give it a name. Eight other cubs have escaped having their sex identified since 1995.

Click on this link to see the latest clan sheet

Thank you for all you do.

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