Grizzly Bear Refuge Report

Grizzly Bear Refuge Report – August 2014

With numerous wild fires burning throughout British Columbia, the presence of smoke and decreased air quality have posed a challenge for Boo the last few weeks. Grizzly bears depend upon their extraordinarily acute sense of smell, and it appears that Boo’s has been compromised by all the smoke in the air.
Boo follows his nose to locate both the natural foods inside his habitat as well as the supplemental foods provided by staff. Ordinarily Boo quickly hones in on his supplements, but lately the staff has noticed that Boo sometimes seems disoriented and that it takes him much longer than usual to find his food.
Exacerbating the situation, Boo recently entered the annual state of hyperphagia, that period during which grizzly bears eat voraciously to bulk up for the long winter dormancy ahead. Boo knows that he must increase his food intake substantially during this critical time. It must be frustrating to him that the strong smell of smoke overpowers the more delicate scent of food.
Nevertheless, Boo has been exploiting seasonal and new sources of food. Several varieties of berries are ripe within his habitat, so Boo is spending lots of time foraging among the berry bushes. He is also tearing apart stumps and dead logs more often than usual, so apparently some condition of insects, their eggs, or larvae inside must be just right for Boo at this time. Most unusual, Boo discovered that one of his pools is teeming with tadpoles so he makes daily visits to this pond to consume as many of the juvenile amphibians as he can. This is particularly interesting for GBR staff because this behavior has never been observed previously in the 11 years that Boo has lived at the refuge. It just goes to prove that you never know what you might see during a visit. The season is winding down, so come visit Boo as he prepares for the long winter ahead.

Ross Prather, Grizzly Bear Refuge Manager