We’ve had over 60 watermelons donated this summer. Here are a few photos of the bears reaping the rewards. I’ll post more photos in the future too:
We had a lot of fun yesterday at Watermelon Day 2013!. Check out the local media for photos of the event. Can you name the two bears eating watermelons in the photos below? (I tried to make it harder this time).
Here’s a few pictures of Keeper Marilyn making some fun bear enrichment.
It’s been a busy week in the bear yard. Last Friday we were dealing with fence damage from the storm. On Wednesday bear pools were cleaned, the yard was scooped, mowing and weed-eating occurred, and trees were pruned from around fences.
Aaron showed me his leg first thing Thursday morning, and of course I decided to show you. Thougths?
Friday was a doozie of a day. Tropical Storm Andrea made for quite the adventure. Jessi and Aaron started checking on all the animals and fences at 7:00. I received a call from them at 7:15 saying trees were down on the bear fence on the cliff- so much so that the bears could climb out.
I came in. Jessi and Aaron had confirmed all the bears, and all the animals at the museum were where they were supposed to be and the only damage was to the bear fence. It took us until about 9 AM to get all the bears secure in the house, and then the work began to get the big tree(s) off the fence. The rain held off for the first couple of hours, but the rest of the work took place in anywhere from drizzling to more-often-than-not torrential rain. Daniel and Dale from the Facilities staff worked hard for almost an hour and a half to get the tree cut off the fence.
We cleared large sections of the top of the tree by tossing them, pushing them, pulling them with ropes, down into the bear yard. Dickerson fence arrived at 2 PM to repair the fence and Daniel got the electric lines and insulators rehung. Much of the bear yard was covered in water, including electric fence lines, so the bears spent the night in the house. (The Farmyard rabbits spent the night in the main building because there home was flooded out too). At 7 PM it was bright and sunny- it was very weird being in Explore the Wild in the bright sun given how the rest of my time was spent earlier in the day.
By 8:30 AM Saturday morning, the water had subsided enough and the electric fence was confirmed to be operational so the bears were let out.
This is such an abbreviated tale of what occurred Friday. I could share with you about scrapes and bruises and other tweaks and injuries that staff received; radios missing in sections of trees that fortunately, were eventually found and will maybe work again after drying out; puddles that you thought were only a couple of inches deep but all of a sudden your knee was wet; flooding and leaking…flooding and leaking just about everywhere.
Another storm is behind us. Let’s hope the next storm is far off in the future… well after my retirement.
I recently posted a drawing and asked you to tell me what was happening here.
Many of you commented, but no one was exactly right. The above drawing was indeed of a bear- Gus to be specific. The round dot on his back was his puff of matted hair. I did not think the puff was drawn accurately (unlike the rest of the drawing) so I added the “dart”, “spike-like” projection out of the back. There is no way I could have drawn this- my artistic skills are poor at best. I do mostly-fine drawing names, and only moderately okay drawing stick-people. This drawing was done by Aaron.
Here’s how I would have drawn the above:
The drawing was made so we could visually review who would be standing where during the bears’ physicals. (It was also made for the enjoyment factor because everyone knows I like a good drawing). Positioning is critical during any procedures with dangerous animals, even when they are behind bars. Jessi is the primary trainer for the bears, so she will be there. Dr. Vanderford will be there, with Katy of course doing the physical.
We’ll let you know how the physicals turn out- maybe Aaron will draw another picture!
I thought the bears would be thrilled to have the 15 pounds or so of nuts that my neighbor left on my doorstep last week. However, in addition to the almonds and hazelnuts that Donna left on my doorstep, the bears received their own mail at the Museum. 50 pounds of walnuts arrived at the Museum addressed to the four of them!
The bears have Kelly Taylor, our Rentals Manager to thank. Kelly absolutely LOVES the bears and asked her family to get presents for the bears for Christmas.
Ranger Greg may have noticed the first signs of the impending season change back in August, but here in the Animal Department, we hold off until the middle of October to make our changes from the summer heat to the winter cold. We also have our animals to let us know when it’s time to shut off the fans and turn on the heaters. Scout, the duck, molts all of his old summer feathers to prepare for what would be a fall migration and he starts running around the farmyard in the morning like he’s training for a race. Henry, the woodchuck, and our 4 bears, all pack on a few pounds with the start of fall and then slow way down, spending most of their days sleeping. The bears, wolves, steer, donkey and many others begin to grow in an extra thick coat of fur to ward off the impending cold.
One of my favorite signs of the season comes from our Red-tailed Hawk, Misha. Our normally quiet, calm hawk becomes very chatty in the early hours of the autumn mornings.
I just learned there are still some spaces left for the two October evening bear feeding. Come join me on a leisurely stroll down to the bear house and help me give them their dinner. Reservations required- hope to see you then.