The five Black Bear cubs have been doing well in the Center’s two-acre Bear Complex. In early September, the rehabilitation team began offering increased meal amounts to the cubs – twice per day, each cub receives approximately 12.5 lbs of fruit, vegetables and greens, and protein. In total, Center staff are preparing and delivering 125 lbs of food to the Black Bear Complex daily – 875 lbs per week!
The cubs naturally require more food as they grow larger, but these increased meal amounts also align with their current “hyperphagic” state; during hyperphagia, a process that Black Bears go through during the fall, they will excessively eat to build up the fat reserves needed to make it through winter torpor (similar to hibernation).
On October 23, all five cubs were temporarily moved into the transition area of the Black Bear Complex. At some point, the cubs had torn off the metal cover of the pool’s water pump and damaged the float valve – a buoyant device that detects changes of elevation in the water and opens or closes the valve accordingly. Despite being a relatively straightforward repair, actually fixing the valve required a unique approach.
The number of staff members that interact with Black Bears at the Center is extremely limited in order to preserve their natural wariness of humans, meaning the professional plumbers who came to the Center to repair the valve were unable to enter the Black Bear Complex. Instead, they walked wildlife rehabilitator Mac through the process step-by-step during a video phone call made from the Center’s parking lot! The repair was a success, and the cubs were transitioned back into Yard #1 later that day.
Hyperphagia tends to result in the bears being more active throughout the day as they forage for food. Tune in to the Critter Cams for a chance to see them as they forage for food, climb, play, and explore the Complex.