Ted, Lucky, Holly, Tasha, and a Snowstorm - UPDATE April 15, 2018

Senior Bear Keeper Sharon Herrell wrote a great update on our four bears. We’re all waiting for the thaw to start in a couple days with temperatures up in the low 50’s forecast for later in the week.ChickadeeChickadee

Bear News- April 15, 2018

On April 9th, the plows arrived early to clear a path from the double gates up to Lucky and Holly's bunker dens. The noise roused Holly; she had to check out what was going on. It was my first look at her this year. She is gorgeous, no bias at all!

Lucky doesn't like loud noises or machinery so he didn't come out until the staff had gone up to visit Holly. One of our Pond Chat Moderators caught a very nice video of Lucky and Holly visiting each other nose to nose. Holly started playing after that encounter. Check out the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdreIJDSqsY.

This week has been a busy start for the bears. Tasha was seen in the afternoon of April 11th, it’s the first time Moderators and our viewers caught her on camera during the day. She also surprised us on April 12th with a visit to the viewing area. This time we were ready and took pictures of her. She sat for a while; still looking tired (walking hibernation) and proceeded to the tree line. She stomp walked over the area a few times and then left us a nice scat. She is taller than last year, and in comparison will be taller than Holly this year.

I'd like to answer a question I received from one of our bear fans.Red squirrelRed squirrel

Question: Why is the gate between Lucky and Holly closed? Are the yard gates to the rest of the enclosure closed too?

Answer: Prior to hibernation last fall Lucky and Holly were not on good terms with one another. We left the gates open while observing behavior; it was clear that neither one wanted to be with the other. Therefore, to allow both a restful hibernation, I closed the gate. When our bears go into hibernation their den gates to the big enclosure are always closed.

Once it is safe to get back up behind their enclosures to open the gates we will do so. Right now there is a base of about 30 inches of cement-packed snow. Holly and Lucky can continue to have contact between the fences and through the interior peek holes in their bunkers. Tasha can also visit each of them through the outside fence. Ted's gate won't be opened until he can safely maneuver across the mound to the viewing area. It’s always my job to keep all of our bears safe; please be patient with us as the snow melts; that is if it ever stops snowing and freezing!

Thank you,
Sharon Herrell, Senior Bear Keeper

DeerDeerOut the window, when a snowstorm hit this afternoon, red squirrels turned their backs to the wind and showed how they use their tail to catch the snow as they continue to forage. A chickadee faced into the 28 MPH wind and hung on tight as specks of snow began to cling to its head. As snow accumulated, they disappeared into cover. Deer were active at first but then also disappeared, probably to hunker down as I saw back in the days of walking with them.

Thank you for all you do.

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