Bear Journal 2012

Update 3/16/13

Long update as I haven’t been able to stop and do one for a while & a lot happened today with mom & cub. Let’s start with Malino & Hoa – they are active most of the day and a good chunk of the night. Finally caught Malino eating dog food, although she doesn’t know that. I’m sure she thinks she still has us fooled that she only eats grapes, fruit, etc. We got a great deal on 30 cases of grapes so we have been able to give everyone extra grapes. Otherwise it would be apples & dog food & some leaf lettuce or grass when we can find any. Hoa has everyone tickled with his expressions and Malino is being a bit more willing to at least show her face when we are cleaning and feeding. They look great except for the winter coat which still needs to drop off and be replaced by a slick new fur coat. We would normally move them to the main enclosure at any time this month, but can’t with mom & cub in there. Since they won’t have the swim tub to play in, we’ll set up another one – one be so easy to keep clean, but as soon as it’s a little warmer, we will get it going for them. They are already playing in the water tub each day.

Update 3/16/13 Image 1
Hoa wondering what we are doing with the water tub as we emptied it & refilled it.
Update 3/16/13 Image 2
"Not sure what they are doing, but I don't like it"
Update 3/16/13 Image 3
Okay, people knock it off. I'm warning you to leave our water alone
Update 3/16/13 Image 4
Do I have to give you the threatening bear moves?
Update 3/16/13 Image 5
Hoa giving us the "what are you doing now" glare
Update 3/16/13 Image 6
He thinks he is hidden behind those strands of hay
Update 3/16/13 Image 7
Malino in the hollow log - we keep taking out the log they keep bringing it back in
Update 3/16/13 Image 8
Bear rug
Update 3/16/13 Image 9
There is plenty of room, but bears like to pile up
Update 3/16/13 Image 10
Good current picture showing Malino's bad eye and total lack of eye shine in her bad eye - you wouldn't know it to see her chase & wrestle. Once in a while she will cock her head to look at something & it is easy to see she is adjusting her view to see with her good eye. She should do just fine when released.

Update on Hoa & Malino - 2/24/13

Malino and Hoa in a bear shelter
Hoa playing with a ball.
Hoa standing up leaning forward
"Hey, how did that ball get clear over there?"

Malino & Hoa haven't been lost in the excitement of mom and cub arriving, but they are just sleeping and occasionally wrestling for a few minutes. It has started to warm up so not sure how much longer they will remain so inactive. Hoa amuses the bear caretakers with his many expressions as he tries to communicate his thoughts to them. If one expression doesn't seem to work, he will try another. Malino still remains pretty aloof and out of sight if we are cleaning or checking the water. We haven't wanted to disturb them so no pictures, but including some monitor pictures.

Malino and Hoa in a bear shelter
Malino comes to join the fun.
Hoa standing up leaning forward
"Let's dance."

The weather said a cold spell coming, but if it did you wouldn't know it by these two. While they still remain in the den or hollow log a good chunk of the time, when they are out, they play hard. Both have gained a good amount of weight & both fur coats look a bit shabby as happens when they are lethargic or hibernating. Remember the batwing spots on Kapalua's rump? Well, Malino has a triple set of those. I guess she figured when it was time to fly she needed extra wings.

Malino and Hoa in a bear shelter
"Where's dinner?"
Hoa standing up leaning forward
Malino playing with Hoa on the ground below & she is about to fall off

They have both been playing with a ball left in the enclosure and are both now climbing on everything, something neither has done before. Whenever they look up at the roof, my heart starts pounding. These two are the least mischievous bears we've had in a long time, but bears will be bears. Hopefully, we can get a few good camera shots of Hoa, but Malino still hides out so hard to get any pictures of her except with the monitor system. So while the quality is poor, at least it's better than nothing.

Malino and Hoa in a bear shelter
Yikes - what if she falls on me (notice 4 of her 6 batwings on her rump))
Hoa standing up leaning forward
Hey where are you going? (Now you can see all 6 of her batwings)

Update - Malino & Hoa 1/9/13

Well, winter has arrived – an inch yesterday and more today and tomorrow. The bears are eating less, being less active, but now and then have a wrestling match. Today Malino decided to play in some snow in the front of the enclosure. However, she had her rump in the air and appeared to be digging. Too much drama for me so I had to ask bear caretaker Amy to check it out. No digging in the ground, just digging around in the snow. Adorable facial expressions – look at those eyes – they speak pretty clear English in the photos. We will have 3 videos in the near future so check back.


Malino and Hoa in a bear shelter
Malino looks like she has a bra on, but it's just where she lost a patch of fur, from overheating with Hoa always covering her. While it's nice to have a warm body, when it's hot, it's hot.
Hoa standing up leaning forward
Hoa thinks we are pushing our luck trying to get a picture and takes a step forward to let us know we are out of line.
Hoa coming out of a bear shelter
Hoa retreating out the back entrance of the hollow log. Darn if those pesky people weren’t there too.
Hoa looks sad
So depressing
Hoa hides in the hay
Okay, I’m hiding in the hay so they probably can’t see me now.
Hoa lies down on the ground
Well that didn’t work either. Now what?
Hoa coming out of a bear shelter
Okay, I’ve had it – prepare to get my best glare!
Hoa looks sad
Are you getting the message now – do you want me to put actions behind this glare?
Hoa giving a pitiful look
Hmmmm – not moving. Maybe a “pitiful” look will do it.
Hoa looking annoyed
These people just don’t give up.
A hawk perched outside the bear enclosure
A visitor to the main enclosure – no bears, but probably some field mice
Hawk in a tree
Better view up here

Welcome Malino & Hoa - 2012 Bears from Washington

Not a happy bear
Not a happy bear.. or maybe she is saying thank you for saving me!

It certainly was a quiet summer after we released Kapalua & Hewech in June, but it also gave us time to get all the work done on the enclosures. With all the fires in the Western states, we held our breath just hoping any orphaned cubs would be found and brought in.

Malino (Hawaiian for quiet or calm) arrived first at IBBR on October 30th. She was spotted by a resident who called the WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife to let them know a very tiny cub was hanging around – no mother in sight. She was in very poor shape when Washington Fish & Wildlife captured her. They took her to Dr. Randy Hein at Eastmont Animal Clinic in Wenatchee. She had a torn ear, pads were depleted, blind in one eye, and extremely underweight - 14 lbs.

Our transport team, Larry & Terri Limberg weren’t able to go so volunteer Phil Stanley left on Monday to pick her up & returned Tuesday evening about 6 PM. She was tired, scared, and no doubt confused about what was happening to her. We had the smaller enclosure ready for her with food, water, & dens filled with hay. Most of all we had a big bowl of formula warmed and ready. The bear formula is a guarantee for turning around starvation regardless of age if the organs haven’t shut down. Somehow the bears seem to know it’s the best medicine and they go for that first. We took the door off the vari-kennel and quietly left her take her own time at settling into the enclosure. It didn’t take her long to come out and very cautiously check out the surroundings. Her first stop was the formula, second the yogurt, and then the grapes and cottage cheese.

Malino in carrier

Thankfully, the monitor camera in that enclosure was working so Sally could watch her every move. She slept, ate, slept, ate, slept throughout the night. When morning arrived she hid behind one of the dens as bear caretaker Amy Kidwell came in to check on her and feed and clean. The minute Amy left the enclosure she went right to the formula. She drank almost half a gallon that first night and ate all of the other soft food as well. We teased her that if she wasn’t careful, she would add tummy issues to the problems she already had. That was her routine for the first couple of days. After that she began to display the typical woof, clapping of lips, and threatening bluff charge to let us know she was now in control and we had best behave. However, she kindly allowed us to feed and clean twice a day - wise bear.

Milano in carrier

You can see in the picture below that there is no reflection from the camera flash in her right eye. It appears to be an old injury that is now healed. Either she has very limited vision or is blind in that eye. Whether she has any vision or not, it hasn’t handicapped her at all so far. You wouldn’t know by her movements that she might not see out of that eye. In fact, more recently at night the monitor camera has been showing a bit of reflection from that eye. Is the formula and the good food possibly helping restore some vision? Who knows.

Dr. Brourman at WestVet who has operated on several bears (including our beloved Jaws) asked their vision specialist, Dr. Carrie Breaux to talk to us about Malino. While we aren’t anticipating surgery is a solution, perhaps she can suggest any medication or nutrition that might help. We’ll start with pictures we have taken first and then she will visit IBBR to get a first hand look at that eye. There may not be anything that will give her back sight in that eye, but we don’t anticipate this will prevent her from being released next June. In spring we will know better how she does once she is moved to the main enclosure.

She had a couple of baby teeth that were still in her mouth & crowding the other teeth so Dr. Hein in WA pulled those before she arrived. For the first several days she ate all the soft foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, canned fruit, grapes, and left the dog food & more solid fruit, but now is eating it all. We didn’t plan to move her to the hibernation enclosure for a few weeks, but the arrival of our second Washington cub changed all that.

Josh shares his water with Hoa
Josh shares his water with Hoa

On 11/10 our second Washington cub arrived. He was bigger in frame, but still thin at 24.2 lbs. Overall, he was in better shape than Malino. We named him Hoa, which means companion in Hawaiian. It seemed appropriate as he has become Malino’s protector. Whenever we are around whether feeding or trying to get a picture he positions himself in front of her. Bear caretaker, Josh Hood left early Saturday morning & met WA Fish & Wildlife near the Tri Cities. Hoa was a very quiet traveler, ate some grapes, drank some water, and arrived here at 5PM Saturday night.

About 2PM earlier that day we opened the door between the smaller enclosure where Malino has been and the larger one next to it. Merging bears has never been a problem, but by moving her the same day the new cub arrives, no one has really had time to own the enclosure & they can both discover it at the same time. She stalled a bit, but went into the larger enclosure within a few minutes. We wanted her to feel safe & let her select her den before the other cub arrived. Even if they are siblings, the events of the last two weeks make them cautious so we want each cub to have a secure area for themselves and they will greet & merge as they feel comfortable.

Hoa sitting in the carrier

She selected the hollow log so her food, formula, and water are next to it. When Josh arrived with Hoa it was already dark. We placed the vari-kennel right next to the den we expected he would use (or he could use the vari-kennel for a day or two) and placed his food and water across from it. He came right out of the vari-kennel and went for the food.

We left the vari-kennel in the enclosure next to a wooden den for Hoa as we expected he might use the kennel for the next day or two until he got to know the enclosure. Malino saw the activity & no doubt was aware of another bear around. She remained in the hollow log until almost 1am. Between 1am and 4am she came out 3 times to eat and drink. Hoa’s kennel entrance faced away from the camera so I didn’t have any view of him coming & going in that area.

Hoa and Malino sitting together
Malino to the right - Hoa above

About 8am the next morning Hoa climbed up on top of the log structure to check out the enclosure. Then he jumped over onto the hollow log and down to the ground to check out the Malino’s food. No doubt she was watching intently from inside the hollow log, but she had eaten everything except a few pieces of fruit. Hoa sniffed around picking up her smell and then wandered back over to “his side” of the enclosure.

Hoa in her new home

Both bears have had their Ivomec which is a treatment for worms and parasites (like the nasty mite that makes them itch & rub their fur off). We treat them every 3 weeks. We continued the AM & PM feedings, mostly for Malino until the 20th of November and then just put all the food out during the AM feeding. We felt she had gained enough weight that one feeding a day would suffice and then we could stay away as much as possible. Both bears are shy and elusive due to their age and the time of year. Since this is the time of year when we stay away as much as possible & try to keep all stimulus to a minimum, that will be the routine as usual. They will gain weight quickly and we hope by Feb. they might hibernate for a month or so.

Malino drinking water

On November 13th they began eating together and then ended up in the hollow log together. They have remained together since then and just recently they began to wrestle and play together. That tells us their weight and health are up to par now. We discontinued the formula the first week of December as neither bear needed it any longer. Malino needed it longer than Hoa. Had it not been for that, Hoa wouldn’t have had it as long as he did. They are both doing very well, gaining weight and staying together. As winter continues, they will remain fairly lethargic. We’ll add pictures to our Facebook when we can if we are able to take pictures without disturbing them.

Please continue to follow updates on Malino and Hoa on IBBR’s Facebook. We can send updates more frequently than we can update our website.