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Lily and Lucy and Cubs - UPDATE August 13, 2023


A double treat today was more of 16-year-old Lily and it was my first meeting this year with 7-year-old Lucy and her three female cubs. I didn’t see her when she was here two months ago. Lucy is another bear, like Lily, that ignores and accepts me even though Lucy and I didn’t have the early start in getting to know each other that I had with Lily. The picture of her shows the white line on the right side of her chest that identifies her. I didn’t see her cubs up close, but Mike Johnson did and sent me the picture of the three light-faced cubs he identified as all females.

Lucy w/3 female cubs by M.JohnsonLucy w/3 female cubs
by M.Johnson
Lucy has always been small for her age, which is probably why she didn’t have cubs until she was five, giving birth to two males—Desi and Arnaz—in 2021. Now, at seven, she has us looking for three female names that would fit Lucy’s name.

I didn’t see her cubs up close today because by the time they came down from the big white pine where Lucy had left them, I was elsewhere with the film crew waiting for Lily to show. When it got too dark for filming, the crew left. As they backed out of the driveway, I heard word Lily was there. I didn’t know how to reach them, but we probably could not have filmed her in the dark anyway. My meeting with Lily was like the meeting a couple evenings ago with her ignoring and accepting me as she maintained awareness of her surroundings.

The hosts of that location had a surprise for me about Lily—a surprise that calls into question some of what I wrote in the update a couple nights ago. After our previous meeting, she returned an hour or so later but didn’t immediately go for the food. She went to where she and I had first met that evening and sniffed the step where I had sat. Then she went to the bench where I sat next and sniffed that, ignoring the food on it. She stood by the bench looking around for several minutes before beginning to eat. How do we explain that? Was she thinking about me? The hosts thought so. I’d like to think so, but I always wonder if there is a better explanation for what I see than what I want it to be. If she did return partly to see me, it was the first indication ever that she would have such a motive. All I can say is that it was good to see her again and to see Lucy behaving much the same.

The film team have now left, jubilant that their efforts obtained footage that can help people understand bears. I saw their efforts and felt blessed to be part of it. It was a great time all the way.

A big thank you to them and to all of you for all you do for the same reasons.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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