Posts Tagged ‘Virginia bear’

by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Black Bear Paws

April 27th, 2013

Black Bear paws are used for many things:

Walking

Rooting around looking for food

Scratching

Marking trees

Climbing trees

Swimming

And as plates

Virginia using her paw as a plate for her nut shells

This last use is one of my favorites and all of our bears do this. Sometimes they will place a piece of food on their paw and raise their paw up to their mouth. So cute and functional.

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

QuikPic: Virginia Bear

January 8th, 2013

Lately, you may have noticed the bears are harder to find on exhibit. Our black bears don’t actually hibernate- it’s not cold enough in Durham but they do slow down a lot! Typically, you can find Gus and Mimi in or by the cave and Virginia and Yona spend their days up on the cliff. You may be able to see a big bear body if you use the camera. Here’s a picture of Virginia sitting up in her comfy pile of hay.

 

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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.

All Grown Up

June 13th, 2012

Here’s a few then and now photos of some of your favorite Museum critters. Enjoy.

 

MAX OUR STEER 

then...smaller than Chummix Goat.

Now... 1500 pounds later

 

SCOUT OUR DUCK 

then...could fit on Kristen's hand

Now...no longer yellow, quiet, or able to fit on anyone's hand.

 

AUGGIE OUR PIG

Then... not much bigger than a bottle and awfully cute.

Now... still cute, but + 120

 

VIRGINIA BEAR

Then... 15 pounds and drinking from a bottle

Now...300 pounds and chewing through ice blocks

 

 

ME (really)

Then... even wore purple back then

 

 

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  1. And so very cute (you in purple– then and now).

    Posted by Michele

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Black Bears: True or False

May 21st, 2012

Thanks to the Appalachian Bear Rescue website I found this true or false quiz. See if you can answer them correctly- I’ll post the answers soon.

The Appalachian Bear Rescue Mission Statement is:

(a) to rehabilitate orphaned and injured bears for release to the wild;

(b) to educate the public about black bears and the regional threats facing them; and

(c) to research bear attributes which may help solve other environmental or health-related issues

Virginia Bear 2011

 

1. When a bear stands up it is going to charge.

2. All black bears are black.

3. A bear’s sense of smell is better than a dog’s.

4. Bears can’t climb trees.

5. A bear can run faster than you.

6. When hiking in bear country it is good to make noise.

7. Black bears are normally vicious and aggressive.

8. During hibernation, a bear does not eat, drink, defecate or urinate.

9. A newborn cub is about the size of a newborn human.

10. Bears mate for life.

11. Bears always make dens in caves.

12. Bears, like dogs and cats, have 4 toes on each foot.

13. People should never feed bears.

14. Bear cubs do not make good pets.

15. Bears eat lots of meat.

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  1. 1. False
    2. False
    3. True
    4. False
    5. True
    6. True
    7. FALSE
    8. False (trick question?)
    9. Tough one. False?
    10. False
    11. False
    12. False
    13. True
    14. True
    15. False

    Posted by leslie
  2. Director Comment :

    I agree with Leslie, although not with the same emotion, and except on #8 (if a bear is hibernating than they don’t do those things).
    Also, I think “A” is the answer to the first question

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Sheep and Waffles

April 26th, 2011

It’s time to say goodbye to our wonderful interns, Casey and Jessica.  They have worked as keepers, with us, 3 days a week for 4 months- we will miss them!  Casey and Jessica are in the Zoo and Aquarium Science Program at Davidson County Community College.

On top of working and classes, the interns had to present an enrichment project.  They choose to create a teepee tree for the lemurs.  The goal of their creation was to increase social interaction among the Ring Tailed Lemurs.  You might see this item out in the lemur yard several times a week.

The lemur teepee tree

During their last week working with us, I figured it would be a wonderful time to ask them a ton of questions.  Aaron was a big help coming up with questions.

What is one your most preferred animal to work with and why?

Jessica- enjoys Box Turtle B because he is always eager to be social and he seems quite self-centered which I respect.

Jessica with her most preferred animal at the museum

Casey- prefers the Sheep because they are the ‘smartest’ animals at the museum- here is her reasoning- I can tell they are always thinking and one day we’re going to come into work and the whole place will be rearranged. The steer will be in the bear yard, bears in the duck pen, the pigs will be in the Butterfly house, so on and so forth.  But the sheep will be in their pen, just looking at you, you’ll know it was them but you’ll have no proof.  And this is why Casey thinks the sheep are the ‘smartest’ animals at the museum.

Casey feeding in the farm yard

What was your greatest challenge, as a keeper, here?

Casey- working with Megatron one of our pine snakes.

Jessica- super cleaning with Mikey cause he never stops talking.

What do you feel was your greatest reward?

Jessica- making the peanut butter pine cones as enrichment for the bears and then being able to watch the bears enjoy them the next day

Casey-  See the picture below- This was her greatest reward!!

Casey and Megatron

What was the hardest task you had to accomplish?

Casey- I had difficulty de-legging the crickets but has gotten over her fear.

Jessica-I had a hard time getting out the black rat and pine snake.

What are some skills you learned here that you will be able to take with you and apply to future positions?

Casey- Organization because everything is labeled in the kitchen and that is fabulous.

Jessica- Team work, you need to work with someone you trust, because you may work with someone that could drop branches on you during lemur super clean… not to say any names…Casey, or to warn you when your index finger is awful close to that alligator.

List a few of your “this is awesome” moments

Jessica-

- watching a training session in the bear house, Gus and Yona were climbing up on the doors of their bear stalls

- feeding from on top of the bear house

Jessica feeding from on top of the bear house

- when I became an ‘authority figure’ and asked our young visitors not to howl at the wolves, she’s very proud of her ability to step up and take charge

-  working with Lightning

Jessica and Lightening

Casey-

-spending 2 hours up on the bear cliff, keeping Virginia distracted, by feeding her raisins. (A boulder had fallen out from the access route the bear’s used to get up and down the cliff.  Leaving Virginia stuck up on the cliff.  Casey was able to keep Virginia nice and distracted so work could be done to the cliff.  Click on here, and scroll down to see some good bear cliff access pictures)

- when we were super cleaning the lemur house with Jill and Kimberly and couldn’t stop talking about waffles, so we all booked it to IHOP to celebrate a job well done (Kimberly’s side note- I will have you know, neither of them ordered waffles!!!)

Casey placing feeding baskets at Lemurs

What was your ah-ha moment that validated your choice of career?

Casey- when I can wake up at 5am and be happy about the work I’m getting ready to do and the keepers I get to spend my day with.

Jessica- when I know it’s super clean lemur day and it’s pouring outside and I’m still excited to come to work.

Casey and Jessica doing farmyard check

Casey’s question to Jessica- Are you satisfied with the partner you got for your internship here at the museum?

Jessica- I am very satisfied, she’s my partner in crime and she keeps me on my toes.  She makes me giggle with her crazy ideas and stories.

And Finally which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle would you be? And why?

Casey says Jessica will be Donatello because just like her, he’s very clever but under appreciated.

Without hesitation Casey would be Rafael because he’s serious and doesn’t mess around, he gets stuff done.

flickr.com

On a serious note Casey and Jessica would like to say-

This is the best learning experience to date.  With our new found skills and training by the keepers here at the Museum of Life and Science, we feel we will go into our summer internships with confidence!

Cowabunga Dude!

Join the conversation:

  1. Great post, Kimberly! The interns really WERE awesome and I’m glad I had the chance to get to know them too, and to work with them. We won’t easily forget them because they gave the department a quacking duck soap dispenser for the kitchen as their farewell gift.

    Posted by Karyn
  2. Isnt lemur super clean this week?

    Posted by jebrown
  3. Great post! You have the best post titles that always make me read on eagerly.

    Posted by Erin Brown
  4. very nice how many interns work at the museum

    Posted by Betty Linkenhoker
  5. Director Comment :

    Our number of interns changes and we don’t always have any in the animal department. This was the first time we’ve ever had 2 at the same time. There can be intrns in other parts of the Museum too. Currently there is an intern in Investigate Health: http://ncmls.org/visit/campus-and-exhibits/exhibits/investigate-health.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  6. Keeper Comment :

    Hi Mom,
    Thanks for reading. :)

    Posted by Kimberly Lawson

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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.

Yona meets the other bears

February 23rd, 2010

Things have gone pretty well with Yona meeting the other bears. (Remember, black bears are solitary by nature). Here’s the quick version, but come to any 2:00 Meet The Keeper program and you can talk to the Keepers first hand about what happened.

Sunday late afternoon we let Yona and Gus together in the house. It was fairly uneventful so we let Virginia and Mimi in too. Gus and Yona did some gentle play wrestling. After about an hour, we separated them for the night in preparation for letting Yona out into the exhibit Monday morning.

Monday around 8:45 we let Yona into an empty bear exhibit, where she could wander on her own. She stayed close to the house. We then decided to let Ursula into the exhibit. Urs did as expected- wandered around in search of food. Yona didn’t show much interest in wandering.

We then decided to let Gus, Mimi, and Virginia out. Mimi and Virginia wandered away eating food, but Gus hung back and spent time with Yona. They continued to play wrestle- Gus climbed to the top of the play structure repeatedly and Yona swatted at his feet.

Monday afternoon, all bears had access everywhere. 4 bears (all but Yona) laid in the yard and 1 bear (Yona) hung out in the house. I am sure she will eventually feel comfortable enough and head out, but for now, evidently there’s no place like home.
This morning, Tuesday, Cassidy reported that when given access to the exhibit, Yona immediately went out, would wrestle with Gus, and then would come back in. So, still venturing out a little more with time.

We’ll post photos and videos in the next few days, so stay tuned.

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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.

Why The Difficulties for Yona (and the others)

January 17th, 2010

Yes, it’s true, no photos yet. I’m still in bed, but wanted to follow-up to my last post. I hope that people “get” what’s going on for Yona and the other bears. I assume some people would think Yona would be thrilled and the other bears would welcome her with open arms. Some elaboration to explain what’s going on.

Yona grew up being bottle fed by the same person and then living in the same exhibit at ABR with other young bears hoping to be released back to the wild. Then, she was packed up in small crates for almost 12 hours, and when she came out, she was in a totally new place: concrete walls, stonedust instead of dirt to walk on, no trees or bears next to her, different smells, sights, sounds.

I’m sure all this makes sense, but let’s go further. Bears are solitary animals. Bears only spend other time with bears when they are cubs: Mother bears raise their cubs (usually have one or two at a time) spending the first 18 months of the cubs’ life rearing them and teaching them life’s lessons. Hopefully, the cubs are quick and good learners and remember the skills they learned because around 18 months old Mom, before bedding down for winter and having her next cubs, kicks them out to be on their own for the rest of their life.

Our current bears- Ursula, Mimi, Virginia, and Gus- have all worked through the growing pains of living in captivity and working things out with each other. They establish a pecking order and learn each others behaviors and know how things work. There are “fights” at times: mostly these are “screaming” and “stomping” and “chasing”. This all works in captivity, and artificial environment, because we give lots of food and the bears learn- they’re smart.

Now, Yona is around, in sight and smell at this point, and is messing with this order.

There’s more to say about this, but enough with words. I hope this explains at least a little more. Please ask questions if you have any. All will eventually be fine, but the road ahead is long and will be trying.

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  1. So nice to meet Yona today- thanks for letting us follow her progress through the blog… the Buckner family will enjoy watching her grow up!

    Posted by Tyler

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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.

Bears & Watermelon

August 13th, 2009

Some photos of our bears when we toss watermelons in the pool. It happens like this:

1. Bear comes over to pool and tries to get watermelon without getting in the water. Many attempts made to reach watermelon with paws. Gus in particular seems to not want to go in the water too much.

2. Give up and head into water. Use paws to stabilize watermelon enough to get a good bite. Once watermelon is secure in teeth, paddle to shore.

3. Arrive on land. Shake off. Try to make sure watermelon does not roll back into pool. Try to keep your watermelon all to yourself (If Mimi gets a watermelon, she walks away with it, at least 40 feet or more, away from the pool and away from the other bears).


4. Take big bites through rind to get to the good stuff.


5. Keep working on your melon until you have worked down to the rind.

This is Virginia in the last photo. If you look closely you can see she has more than one watermelon. She is the one who goes into the pool the easiest and quickest and sometimes gets more than one. I’ve seen Gus more than once “steal” some of Virginia’s watermelons.

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  1. Joey, Johnny, and I hear reading. We really got a good laugh from your story and pictures! We especially like the part about how you're not supposed to let it roll back in after you get it out!

    Posted by Maryann Goldman
  2. Glad you enjoyed the photos/story. Watching the bears gather and eat watermelons from the pool is a treat.My neighbor just left 10 watermelons in my truck for the bears. THANKS!We'll cut some in half and freeze them- watching the bears try and eat frozen watermelons is pretty funny too.

    Posted by Sherry
  3. I discovered that different species of bears eat watermelon differently when I was doing Animal Enrichment activities at the Kathmandu City zoo: Sloth Bears (who live in the lowland jungles and eat ants and termites) rip the melons open with their extra long claws and slurp the juicy bits up with a sound remarkably like a hoover vacuum cleaner leaving the rind, Himalayan Black Bears (live much higher in the mountains and have a diet similar to the North American Black bear) on the other hand sit on their haunches with the watermelon in their "laps" and very neatly and carefully eat the rind and melon together, spiraling down from the top to the bottom and not spilling a single seed! (sample size of two bears of each species) it would be interesting to compare the watermelon eating habits of even more bears around the world!!

    Posted by Bronwyn

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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!

Virginia comes in for dinner

February 15th, 2009

If you’ve ever been to one of our Meet the Keeper programs at Bear Overlook, a keeper has probably described to you how Virginia and Gus, two of our younger black bears, can climb up to the top ledge of the rock quarry that is their exhibit. They get up there by climbing up this natural ramp on the back wall of the exhibit. It’s pretty steep; I sure wouldn’t want to attempt it, but bears are great climbers and the two don’t usually blink twice at scampering up there. Coming down, however, is slightly more difficult, and usually involves some thinking and turning. Watch Virginia descend after calling her in at closing. As usual, my apologies for the shaky parts.

YouTube Preview Image

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  1. That was great! I’ve often wished I could see that (or see them climbing up, for that matter). Thanks!

    Posted by Jeff Stern

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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!

EnrichBits: A new toy

October 20th, 2008

EnrichBits: A monthly look at Animal Enrichment

Our newest bear enrichment toy comes from the people at Boomer Ball. It’s made for polar bears, I think, but we thought we’d see how our Black Bears took to it. Remember as you watch this terribly suspenseful video, that it’s really enriching for the animal when they have to think about things and make choices! And the longer they stay interested, the better the enrichment!

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

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  1. It was very funny when a giant square of plastic that neither opened nor contained anything arrived without any prior explanation on a day when the two people who would know about it were gone. Luckily Cassidy figured it out before we got too freaked out, but there was a good half an hour when we were all scratching our heads wondering if we were getting pranked.

    Posted by Erin Brown
  2. Which means it served as enrichment for the keepers, as well as the truck delivery guy!!

    Posted by Marilyn
  3. I love hearing the snickering from the camera person! he he. more video! I love watching my dog when she tries to figure out stuff. You can watch them think!

    Posted by Anonymous

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