Confusion, Color, and Big Harry - UPDATE July 13, 2020

SiblingsSiblings

There is confusion about the emaciated cub. The mother and the two cubs were seen on June 24, 25, 26, and 27. On June 24, the residents noticed how weak and lean the smaller of the two cubs were. On June 25, they put out a bowl of the formula that Lily Fans helped design for Hope. The cub drank it on at least two of the days during June 25-27. Then the family stopped coming there. There is uncertainty who the mother is. I took pictures on June 25, and the team will be comparing those images with the ones in the records catalog. In one of the pictures the emaciated and gangly cub is shown walking. In the other, this little male is having a moment of closeness with his sibling.Lean cubLean cub

Then a lone cub was seen on July 4 and given the formula. It was spotted again on July 11, and excitement grew, as I reported in the update for that day. Then the lone cub was spotted again, and the spotter made several calls to people in the community. I was among those excited that the cub was doing okay even though it was on its own. People went on the lookout, spotted it moving through, and made more calls. I was among those looking to see it and lucked out. I don’t believe it was either of the cubs that I photographed on June 25. I believe that family moved on and nature took its course for good or bad. Now that community is asking who has seen a mother who is missing one of her cubs. It is a story of sadness, confusion, and people trying to help, and some confusion. I’m thankful that people in this community care. These people not only are willing to coexist with bears, they are protective of them. GoldfinchGoldfinchBut sometimes nature takes its course no matter what someone does to help. The question was also asked what will the lone cub do for winter if it doesn’t get back with its mom. Back in the old days, I put radio collars on several orphans and found that they made normal dens even though their mother would normally do most of that work. They survived over winter.

It was nice today to see a splash of yellow land on the railing outside my window. It was a very welcome goldfinch. I hadn’t seen one for weeks.Big HarryBig Harry

 Big Harry was good enough to pose for a picture in good light yesterday. His battle scars are especially prominent on his upper eyelids. The white skin showing above his eyes is from mange and will disappear as he molts and grows new hair over the next few weeks. The white skin showing on his shoulders is from molting that has begun. Bears vary a lot in their molting time and pattern. The white hairs on his forehead are from age.

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

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