Grinder and Coola, our two resident Grizzly Bears, have emerged from their 2009/2010 hibernation period at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife.
This was their ninth hibernation - all have taken place at the Refuge.
Grinder, being the bold, head strong bear, was the first to emerge and was followed shortly by Coola (shown above).
After a little over four months in hibernation, the bears were ready to rumble and immediately started to run and play in the snow. It's always one of their most energetic days of the year and for the rest of the afternoon Grinder and Coola were seen wrestling each other or rubbing their coats, dirty from hibernation, in the clean snow. Of course, they are also out of shape, so these periods of activities were followed by some serious bear napping!
The term 'hibernation' is a bit of a misnomer when talking about bears. Grizzly Bears are not true hibernators and instead enter a period of deep sleep more correctly called Winter Dormancy. During this period they do not defecate, urinate, eat or drink, however their body temperature and heart rate does not drop as drastically as true hibernators, instead they slow down. Also, bears quite often go for 'sleep walks' during the winter to stretch their muscles and keep their bones strong.
We will soon be switching our hibernation cameras out onto the habitats to allow Grinder and Coola's fans to watch them in action in their habitat. Please stay tuned!