Nature Matters: Lily's Winter Work

By KBJR News 1

November 29, 2010 Updated Nov 29, 2010 at 8:21 PM CDT

Ely, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) Arguably the most famous black bear in America is getting ready to make big news again.

While bears like Lily and Hope are snug in their winter dens some are doing more than sleeping.

Winter is the time of year that baby bear cubs are born.

In this week's nature matters David Hoole has news of Lily's winter work.

Last January tens of thousands of people across the world watched something nobody had seen before; the live birth of a wild black bear.

The view was possible through a video camera placed near the den of a hibernating bear named Lily.

Biologists and an international team of technology professionals broadcast the streaming video that quickly caught on around the world.

With that viewing Lily and baby Hope became world wide superstars.

The bear family has a following of more than a hundred and seventeen thousand fans on facebook alone.

They have become ambassadors for the bear species, teaching curious humans all about life in the bear woods near Ely and Lily is about to do it again.

"It's going to be an interesting winter; scientifically no one has ever seen anything like this before."

Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute is in the process of setting up a web cam looking in on Lily and her yearling cub Hope's new winter den.

"They're probably settled in now, we're going to put a "dencam" in a few weeks and then everyone can see what they're doing."

Surprisingly Lily is believed to be pregnant again and is expected to give birth again this winter.

"I really think Hope is going to hear a lot of squawking when she's trying to sleep."

As part of the family drama in the bear woods last summer Lily and Hope were separated for several weeks and researchers strongly believe it was during that separation that Lily became pregnant again.

The resulting birth will be a rarity in the bear world, a mixed litter family, with cubs of different ages.

"Hope will be sleeping while Lily will be awake nursing, then and it's going to be an interesting winter."

Interesting particularly for the thousands of humans watching around the world.

From the Bear woods near Ely, I'm David Hoole for Nature Matters.

We will continue to monitor the progress of this year's dencam project and will link to the view as soon as it is available.

In the meantime here's a link to the North American Bear Center website.