What a difference a year makes!  A year ago today we had snow on the ground and many cubs at ABR, spending time in the trees.  Because of the poor mast (acorn) crop in the fall of 2015, many yearlings were starving.  Many of them were rescued and brought to ABR for care.  These little bears were so hungry and malnourished that they weren’t interested in denning but simply continued to eat through the months when they would normally have been in dens.  They did spend their time between snacks up high in the trees, snoozing and resting.  This photo, taken in January 2016 shows some cubs being snowed upon as they rested in the trees.

Cubs in tree

Cubs, snow and trees – January, 2016.

Another photo that shows seven of the eight cubs in one of our Wild Enclosures a year ago.

Cubs high up

Look how high the cubs were in this tree!

This year (2017) we don’t have cubs as yet.  This has given our curators, volunteers and others the opportunity to accomplish some much-needed work in and around the facility.  So as a contrast to the images above, we have a photo of a workman from Ogle’s Tree Service who scaled a dead tree that must be removed for safety’s sake before we have bears.

tree trimmer

Look how high the tree trimmer is!

The red arrows show us the man at the bottom and the one who is as high as the cubs were in the photo from last year.  Of course the humans have to use safety gear to climb this high, while the cubs scamper up a tree with ease.  The next photo zooms in on the man in the tree so we can see him better.

Tree trimmer

Here is the tree trimmer from a closer viewpoint.

That tree is at least 50-60 feet high.  Cubs are not even slightly hesitant to climb that high.  Most of us mere mortals would not wish to do so, even with the safety harness!