Home Back Forward June 28, 1999: Beginning to Relax

Biscuit didn't move for one hour.

Chico trusting that we will protect her.

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We are slowly beginning to relax after the hassles that were ruling our lives for far to long. We never expected this project to be easy but I guess there is a point of ridiculousness and we were almost there. Now the world is back to normal, even the so called killer bear who had this place on its ear two weeks ago, seems to have moved elsehere, or reverted to being vegetarian like the other bears we are watching around the lake at this time. They are presently eating the lush grass that shoots up among alders which has a short time of being palatable during its early stages of growth. This seems to be Chico and Biscuit's main diet as well. They eat it in amazing quantities and sound like horses grazing.

The other bears are mostly females with yearlings and two year olds but there are also several mating pairs as well. The mating bears don't seem to eat very much but wander around with the female in the lead or play and sleep depending on the stage in which the courtship has developed. Some pairs are very loving with each other and enjoy life together for a week or more while other females seem to hate the male and try many tactics to escape their would-be suitors. I saw one quietly slip into the water and swim for a mile across the lake so as not to leave a scent trail and then disappear over top of the mountain range. I like to think that perhaps these are the predator males that are being given the slip because their reputation of character has preceded them somehow. Maybe because they are despised, their genes are rarely passed on. With an imagination like that, is it little wonder that Russian scientist have trouble with our speculations? I guess that if you allow animals to have emotions or intelligence, as many people are these days, female bears can have preferences too.

There still is a chance that we will get more cubs this year despite that we have been told from the beginning of our negotiations months ago that we would be absolutely forbidden any more orphaned bears. We know of two and have made arrangements to get them as soon as we are given permission to have them which we hope is coming from Moscow. This is the week we will know if all our persuasiveness and maneuvering has paid off and the wonderful behavior Chico and Biscuit have shown to Vladimir.

I got a very special greeting when I first met Chico this year. Chico has been allowed from the time she was very small to have body contact with me. I decided that we would allow this with only one bear so that any problem that might arise from the experiment would be evident from the behavior of the other cubs. What we have noticed is that she loves this contact and that she respects that she is not allowed to touch Maureen, and with their increase in size Maureen is quite happy with this arrangement. When they slid down the mountain to greet Maureen for the first time a week ago, they both acted as though it was perhaps a week that we had been separated, not 9 months. After saying hello to Maureen in her quiet way, she strode to me and lay down beside me and rolled over on her back and put her big front paws up towards me. I put my palms against hers and my fingers between her claws. It felt as though her paws are now twice the width of my hand. Although they are not quite that wide yet they soon will be. She definitely seems to be continuing the trend of being gentler towards me as her strength increases.

The photos were taken today. We have watched the cubs sleeping from a distance and noticed that they often lift their heads to keep watch but when they are with us they sleep soundly, never moving for an hour at a time. We can carry on a conversation and even walk around a bit as long as we don't make a sudden noise. They keep on snoring.


© Lenticular Productions Ltd. 1999