Freitag, 28. Mai 2010

Lily & Hope - Reunited...The Details!

Lily nursing Hope after five days of seperation...

Heute gab es einen detaillierten Bericht über den gestrigen Tag, er ist so spannend, dass ich ihn hier auch fast ganz poste...Das Herz blieb mir stehen, als ich las, dass Hope es tatsächlich geschafft hat, noch einmal abzuhauen, nachdem sie bereits hübsch eingesammelt im Transportkäfig saß....

"Still Glowing"

All is well. We feel very good about all that happened yesterday. There are those who say we should not have intervened. But we think we answered bigger scientific questions by getting the facts. One question was whether the cub was sick and if Lily intentionally abandoned it because she knew something we didn’t. By catching the cub we could see it was a very vigorous cub even after 5 days. And after witnessing Lily’s wholehearted acceptance of Hope it’s difficult to believe she meant to abandon her. It also shows wildlife managers that cubs that have been away from their mother for 5 days can be returned. Some suggest that mother’s will abandon single cubs so they can mate and produce 3 cubs the next winter. While that might sound good by the numbers it didn’t sound good to Lily. It also showed that mothers whose breasts have turned hard and lumpy can still nurse.

Hope after 5 days on her own - May 26, 2010

What led to the reunion?
In part, it was persistence by a caring community. While we were searching the area where Hope was last seen, community members were searching more widely. The decision Mike and Ellen Kochevar made to search ‘one more time’ before they left town for a few days proved fateful. They spotted Hope on the side of the road in the area Lily and Hope had been just before moving around the lake—a full 2 miles away from where she had been seen on Tuesday! She ran when she saw them, but they were able to tree her and give us a call. We geared up and hurried to the scene. Two more calls came as we were on the way. “She’s coming down. What do we do?” “Do whatever it takes to keep her up there!” was the answer. “She’s weak and I don’t think she can hold onto the tree much longer!” “If she comes down, grab her by the scruff and don’t let go. We’re almost there!”

At first, it seemed unbelievable that this 4-month old cub could navigate the 2 miles back ‘home’ in her nutritionally stressed state. But as soon as we saw that unmistakable light face we knew it was Hope. She looked exhausted and we thought maybe she was weakened from hunger. Sue dipped a 5-foot long stick into sweetened condensed milk and extended it to the cub. Hope licked it and grabbed it with a paw. We lured her down within reach...(Photo:Colin Austin/Duluth News Tribune)
Hope hand-grabbed... (Photo: Colin Austin/Duluth News Tribune)

When Lynn grabbed her she dispelled all notions that she was weak or sick! Spunky Hope fought like a demon—screaming at the top of her lungs. She bloodied both of us as we worked to get into the pet carrier. Inside the carrier she didn’t let up. She was a scared slapping spitfire!

We emptied an entire bottle of electrolyte supplement into the carrier and Hope interrupted her defensive displays to lap it up. We gave her spoonfuls of sweetened condensed milk, which she eagerly licked. We finally slipped the entire dish into the carrier. She quieted down but was quick to slap and blow in her nervousness.

The famous pet carrier... (Photo: Colin Austin/Duluth News Tribune)

We put the pet carrier in the van and drove to radio-locate Lily a mile away. We found Lily about 0.1 miles off a road. We wondered if Hope’s cries would bring Lily to the rescue. Instead, Lily fled a half mile away! We tracked her down to the area where they had bedded at a white pine for a couple weeks after leaving their den. Lily wasn’t coming out to us so we decided to take Hope in to Lily. This is when our roller-coaster of emotion took a down-turn. Just as we were entering the forest, Hope’s frantic attempts to find a way out of the carrier were rewarded. The door popped open and Hope escaped!

She paused just long enough to look back at us, and then vanished into the forest. We were speechless. What now? Would Hope recognize this area she had spent so much time in as a wee little cub? Would she remember the white pine that was her security?

Lynn homed in on Lily’s signal and tried something new. At this critical time, could he get Lily to follow him for the good nuts that her fans had sent? The nuts worked. An hour later, as Lynn and Lily were approaching the white pine, Sue rejoined them and said in a hushed voice “There’s Hope.” She had appeared as quickly and silently as she had disappeared earlier.

As soon as Lily noticed Hope she ignored us and the nuts. At 30 feet apart, both bears seemed unsure. Hope moved. Lily seemed scared and started up a tree. Then she moved cautiously forward and so did Hope. Less than 10 feet apart and recognition was certain. They quickly came closer and showed what Lynn said was “the most beautiful display of animal emotion” he has ever seen.

Hope cried and tried to get as close to Lily as possible. Lily responded with her sweet motherly grunts—showing her acceptance and more. Hope tried to nurse while Lily half-dragged her toward the white pine where they had nursed so many times in April. Lily lay down and Hope eagerly nursed for the first time in at least 122 hours. We caught a little video of this touching scene and then slipped away.

We checked on them today and everything seemed back to normal with them playing and nursing. We will never take such simple family scenes for granted again! (...)

Bears face many challenges. 82% of the deaths documented in our 44 years of study have been from humans (shooting, trapping, vehicles, trains, electrocution, etc.). We’re glad in the case of Lily and Hope we could do something to help and obtain useful scientific information in the process.

Once again we’re overwhelmed by the generosity Lily and Hope fans have shown. We are shaking our head in disbelief at the thermometer level. Wow! Thank you so much! Your contributions will go a long way to furthering our educational efforts.

—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, North American Bear Center

Read full report here: Lily the Black Bear
Photo credits: North American Bear Center, Clint Austin/Duluth News Tribune

1 Kommentar:

Ulli J hat gesagt…

Hallo Birgit,

nachdem ich es endlich geschafft habe, die Geschischte in Ruhe zu lesen un den Links zu folgen, kann ich dir nur recht geben, eine spannende, berührende Geschiche mit einem wundervollen Happyend für Lilly und Hope.

Ich hoffe, die kleine Hope wird ein großer starker Bär.

LG Ulli