On Wednesday, April 18th, Grinder and Coola, our two resident Grizzly Bears, enjoyed their first feed of 2012.
Over the last two weeks Grinder and Coola have become increasingly active and showed all of the signs of being out of hibernation. Once we are sure of this and are close to having their outdoor habitat ready we begin to help the bears get their metabolism up and running at full speed again!
Bears in the wild, after hibernation, would only be finding emerging grasses and shrubs such as skunk cabbage (always a bear favourite). Having not used their stomachs or digestive systems for a long time, it is important for us to work them up to larger feedings and not feed too much all at once. To this end, we start them off with a few heads of romaine lettuce (imitating the skunk cabbage leaves) for the first several feeds. This moisture rich food helps their digestion start up again and helps them pass their fecal plug which they form to help put their digestive system into hibernation. Once this occurs we can start increasing their feed amounts and begin giving them more solid foods.
Grinder and Coola will enjoy a few more days of lettuce as we continue excavations of their hibernation habitat. If mother nature cooperates we are hoping that the bears will be back outside and playing in the snow within a couple weeks.
Please stay tuned for further updates!