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Bears preparing for winter

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The days are getting shorter and the weather is turning colder and that's a sure sign that the bears are getting ready for their long winter sleep!  

Grinder and Coola, our two resident Grizzly Bears at the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, have been into hyperphagia (basically a fancy word for pigging out) phase for the last month and a bit now and have put on nearly 150 pounds from their summer weight.  This is in preparation for fasting over the winter months.  We anticipate they will still gain another 50 pounds or so each!  They are eating nearly 40 pounds of food each day and included in that is calorie dense dog food and some really tasty salmon.

Today marked their first day in their hibernation habitat as we start taking down their summer habitat and packing it away for the winter.  If we were to leave it up the weight of the snow over the winter would destroy it.  So from here on out the bears will be spending lots of time preparing their den for winter.

This week we will be giving them lots of Pacific Silver-fir branches, which are their favourite for making into their hibernation bed.  We give them a large pile and the bears do all of the work - well Coola mostly as Grinder has been known to supervise and pull out branches he may not be happy with - placing them into their sleeping chamber.  Once the mattresses is deep and thick the bears will matt it down some more and then test it out. 

We are happy to announce that just last week we replaced the infrared camera inside their sleeping chamber with a newer and higher resolution model.  This new feed will allow us, and you, to get much better views of the bears working and sleeping inside their den.  Right now the den is empty but watch it fill with bedding material in the next couple of weeks!

To check out the camera and follow along with Grinder and Coola's hibernation preparations please visit our website at: