PA Bear Den Cam and more - UPDATE March 8, 2019

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources debuted a Den Cam on March 5—an gracious opportunity for the public to learn about bears in another area. Pennsylvania Den CamPennsylvania Den CamThe news broadcast about it is at: https://wnep.com/2019/03/07 /live-black-bear-den-camera-debuts -in-the-poconos. And the link to the live den cam is at: https://hdontap.com/index.php /video/stream/pennsylvania-bear-den- live-cam.

This is a worse distraction for me than even the fox and mink out the window. It is a major reminder of the wonderful days of Lily. Being under a house and without as much bedding as Lily had, visibility is better.

Around 8 PM Pennsylvania bear time, I was counting the mother’s breaths at about 4 per minute when action suddenly started. The cub began moving, its little sharp-clawed paws began stretching and the whole cub became visible with eye shine. The mother suddenly rose up and moved, Gray FoxGray Foxshowing that there were no more cubs underneath her; so this mother has only one cub like Lily did. There was not a lot of screeching about being exposed to cold, so I looked up Monroe County, Pennsylvania to see the temperature. I don’t know if Monroeville, Pennsylvania is in Monroe County, but if it is, the temperature was 29° F, which would not be that cold. The cub looked like it had a nice coat of fur.

The cub already had good eye shine from both eyes on March 5. Given that eyes open around 6 weeks, and counting back 6 weeks from that data, there was a coincidence. Six weeks before March 5 is January 22, the date Hope was born. If the eyes were open for awhile, the birth would have been earlier—probably about the same as Minnesota. We saw a range of dates of births between January 12 and 22 for the bears we watched in Minnesota.

Mink StripeStripe the minkWith it looking like there is only one cub, it makes it likely that this is a first time mother, like Lily was in 2010 and Jewel was in 2012 here in Minnesota. Lily had one cub (Hope) and Jewel had two (Fern and Herbie). Lily’s second litter was two, and Jewel’s second litter was three. From my friend Dr. Gary Alt’s great bear study in Pennsylvania years back, litter sizes were about the same in Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

It’s good to be watching a mother in a den again—this time comparing the behavior of a Pennysylvania bear with the Minnesota bears. The experience with the Minnesota bears give us ideas of what to look for right from the start with this bear.

Out the window here, the gray fox came before dark. I cranked open the window and found that my old Nikon D3X camera scares him with its loud shutter click, so I tried my quiet little Canon G11, which is okay—and also for the mink. The mink comes right up to it and sniffs it as I press the shutter without even a flinch. Earlier, I tried a shot through the smudgy window, but we’ll have to wash it to get anything that way. All exciting moments for short breaks from work.

When we said that the snow was up to the second floor window, it sounded like it had build up from the ground. But it had built up only a couple feet or so from the second floor deck.

Mink Stripe up closeStripe the mink - up closeIf you haven't done so already, be sure to re-subscribe to the North American Bear Center's Newsletter/emails on the their new website. To subscribe, just go to bear.org, scroll down to the bottom of the page and include your name and email address.

I heard today from one of the leaders in the effort to stop the pressure on grizzly bears and to stop Congress from ESA delisting. He stated the Chair Grijalva didn’t support H. R. 6877 in the last congress and that Rep. Cheney hasn’t reintroduced it in this Congress. He said they don’t anticipate action on this bill and don’t feel any pressure to move it (or bills like it) forward in this Congress even if Rep. Cheney were to introduce it. The leader said he was focusing on that issue until he can see a way to help move my research forward after what the former DNR commissioner did.

I appreciate so much what so many people do for bears. Along that line, I received a book draft to review for accuracy about my friend Charlie Russell who we all miss.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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