New Den Cam Shows Lily and Hope Near Ely

By KBJR News 1

January 3, 2011 Updated Jan 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM CDT

Ely, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) Bear researchers near Ely have made history again!
They've launched another live signal from a remote bear den to witness the on-going drama of a famous family of black bears.

In this week's "Nature Matters" David Hoole brings us the continuing story of Hope and Lily as they await the possibility of an expanding family.

"This time we're hoping that Lily's pregnant, we've got a yearling in the den so it's going to get really weird, and we won't know what's going to happen. We'll learn along with everyone else."

Bear researchers near Ely and the dencam installation team have done it again. They recently broadcast a live signal over the Internet that gives interested people a look into the unknown; a view into the den of a growing family of hibernating black bears.

Researchers carefully, quietly, took the camera through dense brush to the opening of the bear den on a snowy day just before the new year. They got quite a surprise when Lily popped out of her winter retreat to greet researchers.
Lynn- "Hey bear, she wanted to leave."

- The install team patiently waited for the sleepy bear to go back to its winter hibernation. They know from last year's dencam that it's not rare for a bear to wake up and even get up from its den, but they don't want Lily to leave the den and not return.
As they wait, all involved think about the months of work that hang on this moment and speculate on what may happen this winter.

"The scenario here is so rare, where a mom is probably pregnant, probably going to have twins, and has got a yearling with her.

This is the second year of watching the winter hibernation. Lily's choice of a more remote den made things more difficult this year with no power or phone lines for miles.

"It was a big job. We had to lug 500 pounds of batteries to get the power up."

Solar panels charge 12 volt batteries to power the wireless uplink, and that uplink is like a three month phone call.

"Nothing like this exists at this point in time, this is the first and we're doing it with Lily this year. It's interesting and fun project to be involved with."

Back at the den Rogers and fellow researcher Sue Mansfield decide to leave the densite with the camera partly installed. All are optimistic on success.

"By a month from now she should have another litter in there so we want to get things all arranged before that."

In the bear woods near Ely, I'm David Hoole for Nature Matters.

As of today researchers have adjusted the camera and have already witnessed new discoveries. You can watch the dencam any time at
The North American Bear Centerwebsite