A Tale of Three Bears - UPDATE August 16, 2018

Loppy is named for his loppy ears from too many fights with the wrong bears. Big HarryBig Harry - Aug. 2018We say wrong bears because he even took on VDot. Some years ago, VDot welcomed Loppy to share his food only to be attacked by Loppy. Most bears know Loppy and avoid him. One bear did not avoid him. Big Harry saw him last night. Harry went after him, tangled with him, and ran him out. What caused the bad blood? It could be that they had tangled before. In fact, I believe it was Big Harry who taught Loppy a lesson some years ago when Loppy got uppity and ended up on his back with Harry standing over him.

Loppy - July 2016Loppy - July 2016But could it also be a love triangle? After Harry’s usual mate June was killed in 2013 as part of the infamous DNR killing in which the DNR had to confess in court to lying to cover its actions, Harry took up with Lily in 2014 (May 26). But then, in the mating seasons of 2016 and 2018, Lily took up with Loppy. The two were caught repeatedly on a trail camera as they hung out together those years. Whatever the problem, Big Harry does not tolerate Loppy.

We were surprised at the effort Harry mustered against Loppy yesterday after seeing him walk slowly and a little unsteadily a few days before. But when Harry had to turn it on, he did, and Loppy knew that digression was the better part of valor. We checked Harry over when he got back from chasing Loppy. Harry was fine. We haven’t seen Loppy since.V Dot - Sept. 2015V Dot - Sept. 2015

The photo shows Harry with his typical sad-eyed look and scarred up forehead after more than 14 years of mating battles that we know of. With his light muzzle, we suspect he is Lily’s father. With Spanky’s light muzzle and sad-eyed look, we suspect Harry might also have found time to mate with Shadow in 2014, maybe being the male who helped Shadow set her record of the oldest black bear on record to produce a cub, which she did at the age of 28 in 2015.

Thank you for all you do.

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