Holly, Bears, and GiveMN - UPDATE October 16, 2019

Sharon Herrell put together a nice piece about Holly and her history.Holly

This week's story and news is about our beautiful and “bossy” matriarch without a crown, Holly. If she had a crown she would make it into shreds.

The first time I heard about Holly was in December of 2013. Dr. Rogers ask me if I was interested in raising a young female cub. As I stood in a blizzard listening to him, I said, yes and Holly arrived a few weeks later on December 27. It was -25 degrees with 5 ft. of snow.

Holly I was totally taken as I watched the video of her being released from a box; I thought how could she even have survived. I officially met her in late March when she came out of hibernation. Heidi and I began working to socialize her by using a bottle of rich formula and touch. Holly was so afraid and I wondered why.

Her story begins with a tragedy. She was separated from her mom during a wildfire. She was found by a man and raised by him for about eight months. The Arkansas Fish and Game officials took her from him and sent her to Appalachian Bear Rescue. She remained in their care but was determined to be unreleasable and was sent back to Arkansas. She basically lived in a wooden box for a period of weeks until she was released to us at the NABC. Should we ever wonder why she is so sassy, just think about her past.

Holly She was the first bear here to dig her own den in 2014 and then has been in the bunkers either with or without Lucky each year since. This is a bear with attitude but she melts when Heidi and I are talking to her. We see sweet cub like behavior with no attitude even though she's six and an adult. She likes to be treated like she's a younger bear; she knows hand signs for specific actions from me. The thing she doesn't like, is the word NO!

Holly is very playful in the spring and tends to get along with both Lucky and Tasha. Soon after estrus her mood changes and she doesn't seem to get along with Tasha but tolerates Lucky. The two females are in a 2.5 acres area where Holly is boss. Tasha tries to fit in. In the wild female bears Holly age have over 6-8 miles as a territory. Tasha would then defend an area over 4 miles. Here, it’s just a give and take and Holly takes but is not willing to give. This is why we rotate bears throughout the day.

HollyHolly is an avid climber and has a distinct sassy personality with definite likes and dislikes especially with staff and educators. She does seem to like the interns but they spend many hours getting the bears to know them. If you want to read more about Holly, click on her page link here https://bear.org/visit-us/our-bears-and-their-habitat/holly

Many people ask me, who is your favorite bear. Each bear has special attributes but I care deeply for each one. I feel very privileged to have earned each bears' trust. As Dr. Rogers, spent hundreds of hours gaining the trust of the collared bears to know his voice and action; it’s the same for our bears and me.

Thank you for all you do.
Sharon Herrell, Sr. Bearkeeper

Gray jayGray jay

The big talk at the Bear Center today was how best to improve the bear enclosure to give the bears more freedom. Sorting out ideas.

Red SquirrelRed Squirrel Blue JayBlue Jay CrowCrow


At the WRI, I haven’t seen a bear for days as they have all become nocturnal. Any leftover bear food is shared by red squirrels, blue jays, gray jays, crows, and more.

2019 GiveMN SAVE THE DATE bannerGiveMN is coming up November 14.

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