Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver BC -
It’s still a winter wonderland at the summit of Grouse Mountain but that couldn’t stop Grizzly bears Grinder and Coola from coming out of their cozy den today, poking their heads out before rolling around and playing in their snow-covered habitat. After a year of record-breaking snowfall and their longest hibernation ever Grinder and Coola seemed happy to stretch their legs after a five month sleep. Their emergence also helps to mark 10 years since the orphaned Grizzlies were rescued and became residents of Grouse Mountain’s Refuge for Endangered Wildlife.
“After another whole winter of not eating, slowly burning calories and losing weight the bears once again came out in outstanding condition. Their habitat will now expand as the season unfolds and we are looking forward to watching them play in snow well into the summer” says Wildlife Director and veterinarian Dr Ken Macquisten.
Since both Grizzly bears came to Grouse Mountain in 2001 as orphans, the Refuge team has learned extensively about their habits and characteristics, which were otherwise unknown. Bears are not ‘true’ hibernators instead they have an extended period of sleep called ‘dormancy’. They will not eat or drink anything during their sleep but will awaken and move around during the winter months. They don’t defecate or urinate either. They also have a great memory and some researchers say a mental capacity of an eighth grade student! Grouse Mountain is proud to have been able to share data with bear researchers across North America.
Devin Manky, Wildlife Manager explains that they know when the bears are ready to emerge “when it gets warmer and the days become longer they gradually start to rouse more often and this increase of activity indicates they are ready to look for food. As in the wild, their food source is expanded”.
The Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, a research, education and conservation centre at the top of Grouse Mountain is dedicated to becoming a world leader in preserving both wildlife and flora at risk. The Refuge offers leading-edge interpretive programs that make learning about nature fun and fascinating. More than 15,000 British Columbia School Children visit each year.
The Refuge for Endangered Wildlife is principally comprised of a five-acre mountaintop habitat that is home to two orphaned Grizzly bears, and a Grey Wolf habitat located at the base of the mountain.
Please see photo below of the bears emerging from their hibernation den this afternoon. Video footage filmed by Grouse Mountain is also available on request.
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