Today, October 26th, marks the first snow fall of the winter 2011 season at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. Our two grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, were out enjoying the fresh snow with a slow romp and some good eating.
Unlike the spring, when the bears are bundles of pent up energy, their fall snow-play involves slow wrestling and sluggish rolls around on their sides and back. In fact, they are more interested in finding their food under the snow than playing in it!
Grinder and Coola have put on quite a bit of weight in preparation for hibernation and are looking much more bulky overall. Grinder has a pretty good bear stomach going on! They are still eating approximately 30 lbs of food each per day and are still packing on the pounds.
This first snow will prompt them to increase their foraging and to start building their bed for the winter time. Staff will begin to supply the bears with Pacific Silver-Fir branches (Amabilis fir) that they favor for bed making. As the weather gets colder, we will taper off their food supply. This lack of food and cold weather prompts the bears to finish their bed making and to begin their dormancy period for the winter season.
Watch for more updates on this process soon!