Bears Remembered

Ted Bear (1997-2022)

Ted Bear was one of the first ambassador black bears at the center, arriving here in Ely when he was already 10 years old. Ted was born and raised in captivity. He was raised in Wisconsin with another black bear; an older female named Honey. Both Ted and Honey were captive born and captive raised bears; they were never wild. After a decade of caring for Ted and Honey, their owners were faced with new insurance rules that prevented them from keeping the bears any longer. They asked the North American Bear Center to give their beloved bears a home, and they arrived at the center on April 28, 2007 just prior to our opening in May 2007.

Ted was gentle and trusting to his human caretakers. His unique vocalizations and willingness to communicate to other bears and humans alike, made him an instant favorite with all our guests and staff. Although, most of his vocalizations are not typically of an adult, male black bear and in fact were much more like how a baby bear communicates with its mother. These were not only interesting but very endearing. Ted often greeted humans with gentle grunts and coos.

Although he lacked many natural behaviors, Ted reacted to other male bears as wild males would react to one another when a female is present during mating season. Ted was a rather large black bear, reaching about 700 pounds at the end of every year. He was black in color, but would bleach to a dark brown by mid to late summer.

Our beloved Ted passed on October 31, 2022, at the age of 25 years and 9 months. Ted is buried next to Honey, his longtime friend.

Ted was a truly special bear. He was able to meet many people and teach them the true nature of black bears while finding a special place in many hearts along the way. He will be missed by many, but never forgotten. Ted will continue to educate people even in death, as his behaviors, antics, and stories are still used to teach the public the truth about black bears. Rest in Peace Ted – you will be forever missed.

Honey Bear (1996-2016)

Honey Bear was one of two original ambassador bears here at our center. She arrived at the North American Bear Center on April 28, 2007, along with Ted, with whom she had grown up. Both Ted and Honey lived with a family in Wisconsin for many years. They were captive born and captive raised bears, meaning they were never wild. Honey preferred to be alone and was content with herself. She was a confident bear and was the matriarch of the enclosure during her life here. She was not as trusting of our staff as other ambassador bears, but our staff learned to work with Honey nonetheless and this provided a different look into bear personality. Once the caretakers began to learn and to read Honey’s body language, they began to understand and appreciate her unique personality. Although Honey could be quite blustery at times, her cautiousness, solitariness, and antics appealed to many of our guests.

Honey was not only notable for her personality, but also her color and size. Her rich cinnamon coat, also her namesake, was a gorgeous sight to see in the full sun of a warm summer day. This coloration is rare in black bears in this area and less common in general, making Honey even more unique. This suggests that her heritage might have been from one of the western states where cinnamon-phase black bears are more common. Her size was also impressive. She may have been one of the largest female black bears ever recorded, exceeding 500 pounds in some years.

Honey was a very special bear who provided a wonderful opportunity to better understand bear behavior. She enjoyed a good life at the NABC and helped educate thousands about the varied natures of bears.

Honey was 20 years old when she passed in 2016. She was greatly loved and is missed by many. Rest in Peace Honey–you will never be forgotten!

Help support the North American Bear Center

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies entirely on the support of visitors, merchandise sales and people like you. We do not receive any state or federal funding.

Help support our mission.

Donate Now