The Five Bears Behind the Scenes and High Anxiety for Holly - UPDATE August 19, 2018

(Update from Sharon Herrell) A few days ago during the 5:00 pm Behind the Scene tour a wild bear visited by the fence and became part of the education outreach at the bear center.Wild bear at NABCWild bear at NABC Along with the introduction of our four ambassador bears, the two or three year old wild bear decided he wanted to be a part of the action. He was quickly shagged away from the fence by staff. There has been recent sightings of this bear in our parking lot and seems to be hanging around the nature trails. These bears move quickly away from people when they see them but it did lead to interesting questions for the interns to answer from the audience. These wild bear visits have been making Holly anxious.Holly on rock denHolly on rock den

We are hoping for rain as the plants and berries begin to diminish around the northwoods. It’s hard to see fall coming so quickly but that is what is happening. Holly has put her bid in and seems to be guarding Tasha’s 2017 refurbished den. Where will Tasha den and is that Holly's final decision? We’ll have to wait and see.

The bears are currently maintaining their weights with the exception of Lucky; he gained eight pounds. That is acceptable. Ted gained three pounds and the females maintained their weight. All is good with their weights. Hyperphagia has taken over for three of our bears; they seem to have bottomless bellies (except Holly). When I look back on their weights from last year--all weights are relatively the same, except for Tasha who is gaining. The abundance of food that the bears have eaten in the enclosure and the amount we are feeding doesn't seem to have an impact but they still have over 6 weeks before hibernation.Lucky climbing Pat treeLucky climbing Pat tree

Lucky and Holly both are enjoying climbing the Pat tree for treats. I have increased the food spreads, use of the trolley feeders for enrichment purposes, and are giving them more fruits than dry food to help them put on weight. I am not worried that they will all meet TashaTashaideal weight for hibernation. Little Tasha is not so little anymore.

The smoky haze that has blown in is from the Canadian wildfires, it seems to have settled over Ely. I included a picture of the sun setting in its pink phase due to the smoke. The picture of Holly and Tasha both reflect the haze that is just hanging in the air. Our thoughts are as always with the fire fighters trying to control these fires.

TedTedThis weekend we had some special visitors from the Kalahari Meerkat Research project. Professor Tim Clutton-Brock from Cambridge University and Professor Marta Manser of the University of Zurich stopped in for a visit with Dr. Rogers after they attended a conference in Minneapolis on Animal Behavior. They spent a few hours with Director of Education, Judy Thon and then went out and spent the day and evening with Dr. Rogers at the Wildlife Research Institute. Smoke in ElySmoke in ElyIt was my complete honor to have them back on Saturday to introduce them to our four ambassador bears and talk about their different personalities, likes and dislikes. With the help of our Interns and Bear Educator Julie from the UK, we showed them dug dens, enrichment tools, and how our natural environment helps prevent boredom and pacing. Our habitat replicates (on a smaller level) how our bears have a similar life as a wild bear but remain captive their whole life.

Oh and by the way for all-- I am the Senior Bearkeeper not Beekeeper :)
Thank you for all you do.
Sharon Herrell, Senior Bearkeeper

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