Bear News – October 4, 2021

Holly back out after three days in the den, Tasha still looking and Ted celebrates.

Bear weights:

Ted 676 lbs., Lucky 505 lbs., Holly 330 lbs., Tasha 388 lbs.

The bears are all at good weights, Tasha is a little heavier but she is doing well.
(Note these are not the final bear weights for the season)

Bear fact: Black bear navigation ability is superior to humans and they have excellent long-term memory. It utilizes navigation skills when hunting for the best food locations.

The bears will be fed one meal a day now with the exception of Ted. Ted will continue to get two meals until he pushes food away. Holly might be done for the season. She has now been in her den since 9/27/21.

Ted had the best dinner as we celebrated his first year of retirement. He was given a dinner bag with fruit, nuts, carrots, and grapes. After he ate his dinner, he placed his bag on top of his dish. He is such a well-mannered bear.On Sunday Ted took a long nap with his head on a slab of greenstone. It was interesting to watch him. I gave him a bowl of treats as we had work to do in this enclosure, he tipped the bowl so he could eat so I placed a rock under his bowl. Ted has a great life and we as his keepers enjoy making his life easy.

Earlier in the week Ted had his adventure. He enjoyed the new grasses growing on the mound. Grass is a big part of a bear’s diet. It is easy to see that Ted loves to spend his time eating grass and lounging on the mound.Holly surprised us on Sunday, September 26 by coming to the viewing area to eat. She was down only briefly and then walked back to her den. The only other times anyone sees her is if they walk past her den. She sometimes emerges like a troll saying, “Who’s that walking near my den?”. Of course there is fencing between Holly and staff.

Tasha is our displaced bear for yet another year. She is so tired. Our staff plan on Monday was to catch her working on her den or walking to it. As the plan unfolded, each of us had a portion of fence to watch but Tasha had another plan. After finishing her dinner she walked to the back of her enclosure and got into her tub and rested her head on her paws. She is very lethargic.

On Tuesday she was feeling energetic and played in the pond, pushing the logs and splashing. She ran up the hill and into the forest towards Holly’s den. It was fun to see her so energetic.

Lucky has shown up several times for enrichment but then heads directly back to the small bunker. It may look small but both Lucky and Ted hibernated together in it many years ago. Lucky was only a 2 or 3-year-old, but they did den together in the small bunker. Currently Lucky is only getting one meal and that seems to satisfy him. I have also caught him caching some of his food. The term to cache is used when an animal hides or buries food for future use. I’ve not seen him do that before but have seen wild bears cache food.It has been very warm in Ely. I have not given straw to Ted yet due to the weather. Lucky has received leaves and some cedar and balsam fir branches so the guests at the NABC can see how bears incorporate ground matter to make their dens. It also teaches guests about fall transition.

Fall transition is the period after hyperphagia when metabolic processes change in preparation for hibernation. Bears voluntarily eat less but continue to drink water to purge body waste. They become increasingly lethargic resting 22 hours a day. Heart rates go from 80 to 100 beats per minute to 40 to 50 beats per minute for an active bear. If you want to read more about the 5 Stages of Activity and Hibernation, click on this link on

Thank you to all for questions asked about our bears such as straw delivery and feeding schedule. We have to move with the bears and they direct our routes at the NABC.

Also, thank you to all who have sent dry fruits and nuts, what we do not use this season will be kept for next season, it will not go to waste.

Thank you on behalf of Ted, Lucky, Holly and Tasha
Sr. Bear Keeper, Sharon Herrell


2021 List of Updates
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