Bear News – September 10, 2022

Tasha enjoying berries, Lucky enjoys the sun, Ted’s big day.

Bear fact: Bears can walk plantigrade (walking on soles of the feet) like humans. Dogs walk on their toes which is called digitigrade.


This week I want to start with our Ted. He is obviously a very well-loved bear at the center. The weather in Ely was cooler on Thursday and Ted had a nice visit to the scale, a few snacks and then his nap. Time passed quickly, the broadcast came and went without Ted lifting a paw. It was then time for the 1:00pm Behind-the-Scenes tour.

Our on-site naturalist, Natasha, had her sister and young nephew and niece visiting the center and they came out to see the bears. There were several children on the tour also accompanied by parents. Ted was resting but the children were making noise. Ted raised up making his wonderful whooting sounds. He moved to the top of the mound and watched as the families moved back to see Tasha and Holly. I thought I’d try an experiment after the tour had ended. I asked the children to call Ted. They did so but it didn’t pique his interest. As we started back into the center Ted again saw the children and sat up. The kids, without prompting, started calling him again and Ted moved directly to their voices all the way up to his den. The children were laughing and cheering as he came through his door. Ted was tired but he looked so happy. He received a bowl of nuts but wanted a drink of fresh water first. The children continually talked about how they got to call Ted to his den. It was fun to see the excitement it brought to the visitors, children, interns, staff and volunteers. A job well done, indeed.

Tasha bear was eating Downy Arrowwood (Viburnum rafinesquianum) berries growing just inside the mound area to the left of the gate. The berries are small and contain a seed but are edible. She sat on her bottom pulling the branches towards her mouth. Her tongue acts as a tool and she quickly uses it and her prehensile lips to eat all the fruit. She held the branch steady with her paw. Completely satisfied with herself she moved on to the viewing area to the stand-up feeder for more delicious foods.

Holly has a den! It is about 40 feet south of Tasha’s dug den. It is just beyond the fence and well dug. We knew she has been digging since she disappears for hours and is late for breakfast most days. The forested 2.5 acres is so lush it’s almost impossible to see the interior from outside the fence. Our fall interns, Ben and Syd, are loving the time they get to spend with her.

Lucky bear found a log that he likes to rest his head on while napping and enjoys bracing himself against it while catching the warmth from the morning sun. He completely ignores anyone calling him even though they are standing just outside the fence line. He blinks his eyes, pretends to sleep but reopens his eyes to see if anyone is still watching him. He takes a great picture with his black shiny coat. A bear’s tummy area lacks the same amount of fur that coats the rest of their body. One of his favorite words that he responds to is how handsome he is. Our interns tell him often.

Thank you for all you do for our sweet bears. Sometimes they are challenging but always sweet and quick to please unless they are sleeping, ignoring us or their ears fail to work.

Our Amazon Wishlist is still available. Our needs presently include tree nuts, preferences being hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts.

Reminder: the upcoming silent auction sponsored by friends at the Northwoods Bear Foundation will go online September 12-18. Many items will go up for auction, so please check it out. The auction proceeds will be used towards the fencing and new bear enclosures.

Thank you for all you do,
Sr. Bear Keeper, Sharon Herrell


2022 List of Updates
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