Just an update on Grinder and Coola's 2018/2019 dormancy period - all is going well and the boys continue to sleep most of the cold and snowy days away.
We do see them get up from time to time on their infrared camera (see screen capture below!) as they stretch their muscles and check conditions outside of their sleeping chamber.
What Grinder and Coola are going through is not technically hibernation. They are in a period of extremely slow metabolism and lethargy to help them make it through the cold months when there are no food resources in their territories. While a true hibernator will have their body temperature lower to extremes and have their heart rate drop to just a few beats per minute Grizzlies do not go to this extreme. Their body temperature does lower several degrees and their heart rate drops to a quarter of it's normal rate but they still sit-up, roll over, stretch and even go for short sleep walks during this dormancy period.
All of this motion is thought to keep their muscles, soft tissues and bones healthy during this period of non-activity. We've seen a lot of this on our cameras and occasionally catch Grinder and Coola out on one of their wanders. It definitely looks more like a sleep walk as the bears don't acknowledge us or even much in the den - just look around and then go back into their sleeping chamber.
Soon, however, the days will begin to get warmer and daylight hours will get longer and the bears will begin to do more and more activity as they anticipate the end of the winter.