Posts Tagged ‘American Black Bear’

by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Videos of Ursula

October 19th, 2011

Here’s a couple of videos that were taken of Ursula over the last couple of years. in this first video, there was a particularly heavy snow that we got one winter and one of our previous keepers, Cassidy, got some video of Urse walking around and digging in the snow. Her thick coat made her seem oblivious to the cold weather and snow that was still falling at the time (you can see some of the snow on her back).

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This next video was taken  in the spring/summer 2009, and Urse was enjoying a swim. Urse was always a fan of the water and she often liked to wade in the pools. In the house where we have large tubs of water for the bears, she would often times be seen by keepers splashing the water everywhere and seemingly having a great time in the process. These endearing moments are just a couple of things that we will miss about her.

Three years ago I posted a Creature Feature on Ursula talking about her favorite foods, her antics as a youngster, and moments she had with keepers and enrichment. You can click here if you’d like to read that post and learn more about Ursula.

In the last couple of days, the keepers have received great support and kind words from the other museum staff and it is very much appreciated. All of us here at the museum have our own favorite memories of Urse, whether it be from behind the scenes while caring for her or from bear overlook while watching her eat, sleep, swim, interact with enrichment, or tell the pesky younger bears to go away. I think it is safe to say that Urse will have a special place in many of our hearts for a long time to come. If you have a special memory of Urse while visiting the museum please feel free to share it with us in the comment section.

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Yona on ice

December 31st, 2010

With the cold weather we’ve been having recently (especially in the evenings), the moat in our bear exhibit has frozen over sooner than usual. We always expect freezing of the moat to occur in late January and through February, but this winter it has happened in December! Even with temperatures now getting warmer during the day and typically melting any ice or snow on the ground, the warmer weather doesn’t necessarily thaw the ice in the moat because it doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Well, the ice in the moat finally became thick enough that the bears could walk on it. Yesterday, Kimberly and I watched Yona and Gus venture out on the ice to come greet us while we were breaking up the ice with long poles from the bear viewing area.¬† Although Yona and Gus did some playing on the ice that we didn’t capture on video, I still got some footage of Yona investigating her newly frozen ice rink. You might notice the large sheets of ice that are frozen into the new ice that had formed overnight. Those sheets of ice are from Sherry breaking up the moat the day before, and then the water re-freezing with the broken sheets inside of it!

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

QuikPost: Yona video

September 10th, 2010

Cassidy shared with me this video of Yona (and then Yona and Gus). It’s less than 1 minute so click on the link below.

Yona and Gus

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  1. Great video! Yona seems completely unintimidated by Gus’ size!

    Posted by Debbie

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

QuikPost: In the news…

June 22nd, 2010

With all the recent news about our youngest black bear, Yona, I thought I would share this cute video about a bear cub and its mother that made the news. Just click here for the link.

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by , Keeper
Although a native tarheel, I came to the museum from Texas, where I taught Biology courses at a small college. In graduate school I studied the behavior and ecology of marine organisms (mostly crabs, lobsters and sea turtles).
You can find me in the Animal Department Monday-Thursday. Fridays I work for the Department of Innovation and Learning all day.

Yona’s First Day Meeting our Bears.

February 24th, 2010

Sherry wrote about the bear introductions already but I wanted to add some video clips to her description.

For a while Yona was in the side yard with Gus but they were not interacting. Yona was exploring the features in the yard and decided to tank a dunk in the water trough.

Clip 1: Yona takes a plunge

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Keeper Katy did some training with Gus. Here you can see and hear Katy doing “target” training. Gus gets a raisin treat every time he touches his nose to the red target. Soon Yona walks over and decides this is the kind of work in which she might be interested.

Clip2: Yona’s first day of school

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The last video is a short clip of Gus and Yona “boxing”. For most of the video, Gus is being very gentle (notice that he is sitting much of the time). Near the end Gus reminds Yona he is the boss by giving her a shove. This may seem “mean” but it is important for Yona to learn her place in the pecking order. Gus had very similar experiences when he was first introduced to Mimi. Gus and Yona have continued their rough and tumble playing and we hope that Gus will continue to be a good playmate for her.

Clip 3: Yona boxing with Gus.

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  1. These videos are great! Thanks for sharing them.

    Posted by Shawntel
  2. She looks so small compared to Gus! I have a feeling she's going to give him a hard time once she gets full grown.Great videos!

    Posted by Leslie
  3. i love this post. thanks for sharing, larry. :)

    Posted by Leiana

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Sneak Peak

December 11th, 2009

So, we’re short staffed again: vacation, sickness, babysitting…and I’m in on my day off. Oh Well.
I don’t keep a camera in pocket so I cannot, yet again, show you what’s going on around here: ERIN- HAVE YOU GONE HOME AGAIN WITH THE CAMERA?!? (To be fair to Erin, I could grab another camera). So, for you faithful Blog readers, here’s the deal. We might be getting a new bear. I’ll know more in the next week or two, but here’s a photo of our possible new Museum Member:


She’s about 80 pounds and was born this past February and is looking like she won’t be a good candidate for release to the wild. More info about her situation when I learn more details.

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  1. I might have left the camera in my pants…but rest assured, it was nice and warm last night.I think I'll start a routine where I put the battery charger next to my radio charger and charge it overnight with my radio. That will help except for the days where I accidentally take my radio home (which happens more often than you'd think…)Thanks for covering today!

    Posted by Erin Brown
  2. what a gorgeous girl. definitely keep us posted on this one!

    Posted by Leiana

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Oh no, someone’s in the bear pool! Oh wait, it’s just Sherry…

October 15th, 2009

You may have read a post recently about the bear pool getting its annual cleaning. Well, the day after we finished, one of the drain covers at the bottom of the pool was seen in the middle of the exhibit yard (no doubt having been used as a toy for our playful bears). We had to get the drain cover back on, and Sherry volunteered herself for the job. She doesn’t usually get to help us with daily routines, but she sometimes seems to oddly enjoy doing the really strange tasks!

Watch the video below and check it out. You can see that Sherry actually maneuvers the drain cover back in with her feet, and then hollers,” Success!” with her arms triumphantly raised in the air. But then, instead of wanting to get out like any normal person, she decides to go check the other drain cover to make sure it is still secure. This is when I got skeptical of the true motives of her endeavor (I think the pool was just too sparkly and clean to resist not taking a dip!).

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  1. Cassidy and Erin volunteered for the next drain cover replacement. I am thinking of sending Cassidy in to do it while Erin films it with her new handy dandy indestructable camera that she suckered me in to buying!

    Posted by Sherry
  2. Thank you for making my day with this post, Marilyn. :)

    Posted by Leiana
  3. I think the camera is submersible. If so maybe we could post our first underwater footage!

    Posted by Larry
  4. Hilarious! I love it when she says, "It's a little chilly!". Really, I can't stop laughing.

    Posted by Erin Brown

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

It’s fall, the bears are eating more…

October 7th, 2009

…and I have found yet another fascinating artifact from the bear yard:


They get whole ears of corn in their diet weekly and we usually find random pieces of cob and husk around. This empty cob, however, looks like one of the bears delicately devoured it end to end, manual typewriter style.

I’m betting it was Mimi!

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

Twins?

July 27th, 2009


What’s going on in the animal department? Blond highlights for summer!
Ursula Bear and Keeper Marilyn — can you tell who’s who?

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  1. Ursula is my inspiration in life… so it's only fitting that we look similar. :)

    Posted by Marilyn
  2. Next year I'm going to grow my hair out so that I can look like Gus! (see below)

    Posted by Marilyn

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Creature Feature: Gus the black bear

July 22nd, 2009

Our bears are some of the most entertaining animals to watch here at the museum. Gus is our only male bear, and he has some funny antics that make the keepers laugh on a regular basis. Even though he is the youngest bear, at only 3 years old, he is already the dominant bear in the enclosure!

Since black bears are naturally solitary animals, they have to form a heirarchy in order for them to co-exist with one another. It used to be that Urse was the top bear, but that changed over time as Gus got older. In fact, when Gus was less than a year old, he was so small that when he stood up, he still wasn’t as tall as Urse was sitting down! But he still wouldn’t back down from her, and was not scared to get slapped around a little bit. He would just dish it out back at her! Those are the classic signs of becoming a big dominant male black bear. And when he is full grown, he will be twice the size of Urse and will average somewhere between 500 and 600 pounds.

Even though he is the dominant bear in the enclosure, he often times still seems to be unsure or even “scared” of other things that you wouldn’t think are scary. For instance,when we did one of our emergency trainings with some “escaped bears”, he ran for his life when he saw the big stuffed bear that was supposed to be Urse! He is also very hesitant to get in the swimming pools, when bears like Mimi practically live in the water during the summer. He will get in the pools occasionally, but he has to think long and hard about it before getting in (it also helps if there is some incentive like a fruity ice block or a watermelon).

Gus is easy to spot in the exhibit right now because he is shedding his winter coat and has lots of fur stuck to his back. Of course, we don’t have “hands on” with our bears, so the fur will have to work its way out naturally! Katy is currently doing some operant conditioning with our black bears, and she is hoping to teach Gus to put his back against the fence so that she can pull some of the winter coat out, but it remains to be seen if it will happen.

To the left is a picture of Katy working with Gus to teach him to put his paw up to the fence. This sort of training makes vet visits much easier; if the vet wants to look at his foot, Katy can just tell him to put it on the fence and he will easily oblige for a yummy peanut or marshmallow treat. Stay tuned for an EnrichBits post coming up soon where Kristen will talk more about operant conditioning with our animals!

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  1. for our followers:Gus had a cut near his nose today.Kristen and I got it cleaned and put antibiotic ointment on it. (She fed him syrup through the fence while I applied the medicine with a long Q-tip)Gus is okay, but who knows what this boy keeps getting into.

    Posted by Sherry

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