Grizzly Bear Refuge Report

Grizzly Bear Refuge Report – April 2014

Boo awoke from his most recent winter slumber on March 31, 2014 after digging his way through the deep snow that covered the entrance to his winter den. Other than refuge staff monitoring his daily activity via infra-red camera, it was the first time that anyone had seen Boo since he disappeared into his den on November 18, 2013.

Early in his hibernation, Boo spent considerable time in deep sleep, curled up in a tight ball to conserve warmth. However, as winter progressed, Boo woke up daily to stretch, yawn, groom, roll around, and rearrange his bedding. At first, he just awoke for a few minutes at a time. As days lengthened and warmed, his activity increased to three or more hours per day. By March 31, Boo had had enough of being cooped up inside and dug his way out to sniff the fresh air, sample the pure snow, and squint in the blinding sunlight.

All indications are that Boo experienced a comfortable winter dormancy. He appears to be in great physical condition and seems more alert than he typically does upon first arising. Boo also passed his fecal plug after just a few days, so his dietary supplements were resumed earlier than usual. For the time being, his diet is still very light compared to what it will be during the coming weeks.

Boo remained content as refuge staff prepared his larger habitat. Finally the big day arrived when Boo could be released from his overwintering quarters into his 20-acre subalpine home. This is always the happiest day of the year for Boo and refuge staff alike. Once again Boo is king of his domain. Come and see him when our summer season begins.

Ross Prather, Grizzly Bear Refuge Manager