Shadow! Fern and Cub, Jewel, and RC - UPDATE May 18, 2019

Two nights ago I got a call from a neighbor who was 99% sure he saw Shadow. Fern and cubFern and cubEveryone is keeping an eye out for her to see if she made it through another winter to turn 32 years old. But it was too dark to show her gray face and be sure. Last evening, he called again, this time 99.9% sure. I rushed over with the long lens. The low light camera lightened the scene and showed her lying warily in the woods with her ears perked, listening for danger in different directions. Her gray face and wary actions clearly identified her. We didn’t expect cubs. She hasn’t had any since she was 28 when she set a record for the oldest black bear to produce cubs. The previous record held by a couple bears was 26.

Another call came earlier last evening saying to rush over—Fern is here with a cub! She had been sighted there a few days ago with no sign of a cub or lactation even though she missed having a litter last year and was doubly expected to have one this year. The report of her from another landowner nearly 3 miles away made it seem unlikely Fern reproduced, but that landowner now says the sighting was in error. Last evening the person who first spotted her saw her come in leading one tiny cub that we have yet to determine as a male or female. The photo almost gives a hint of it being a male. We’ll see for sure over the next days or weeks.

ShadowShadow RC RC

Also last evening, Shadow’s 20-year-old daughter RC with a wary disposition visited again with her 3 yearlings. She got on the scale, now weighing 241 pounds.

Family break-up is starting. Another report was of Shadow’s 10-year-old granddaughter Jewel chasing off her male yearling named Joe but behaving the same as ever with her two yearling daughters JM and Joy.

Bear action is ramping up.

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