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Published on Sep 13, 2011
Lily is taking a nap. Faith idly entertains herself until she decides she is hungry. Before long, Hope is in on the action.
Video by Jim Stroner
Lynn Rogers, Ph.D., regarded by many as the "Jane Goodall" of black bears, has spent over 44 years learning about wildlife and sharing his information with the public. Using airplanes, vehicles and snowshoes, he has radio-tracked over 100 bears in the vast forests of northeastern Minnesota, studying some for as long as 22 years.
Lily is a wild black bear who is part of Dr. Rogers' long-term study of black bear ecology and behavior at the Wildlife Research Institute. On January 8, 2010, Dr. Rogers installed a live video camera in Lily's winter den near Ely, Minnesota, so the public could share in the birth and care of her cub.
Dr. Rogers, along with his research associate Sue Mansfield, and tens of thousands from around the world watched on the Internet, spending a sleepless night as bouts of labor continued for 21 hours and 39 minutes. Finally, on January 22 at 11:38 AM CST, Lily made some contortions, looked under her, and began the intense, sweet grunts that mothers make only to their cubs. A loud squawk from a single female cub made it definite. Lily tucked her head under her chest to care for and breathe on the cub to warm her. This was the first time the birth of a wild black bear has been viewed live on the Internet.
Lily and Hope are proving to be the best ambassadors for bears we know. The number of fans have increased to over 200,000 (over 128,000 on Facebook alone). They learned about bears from the bears themselves. They saw an animal far different from the ferocious image of the media. They want to share their knowledge and have become a force for bears.
The interest in Lily and Hope was unexpected and much appreciated by all who truly know bears. Hundreds of classrooms began each day watching the Lily Den Cam and then going on to include Lily and Hope in lessons throughout the day. People who watched from their homes discussed these bears online and became friends, all bonded by their love of these bears.
Last summer, Lily unexpectedly went into estrus, temporarily abandoning Hope to mate. They reunited and are denning together once again, as mother and yearling should. However, this year, Lily entered the den pregnant and had two new cubs along with Hope.