Coola and Grinder – the grizzly bears that live at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife – are coming out of hibernation today. I have truly missed seeing them each week and helping care for them as part of my job as Wildlife Volunteer. They have been sleeping for the past 5 months, snug in their bear den at the top of the mountain. I expect they will be much skinnier versions of the bears they were late last fall when we last saw them as they have not had anything to eat or drink since then.
Coola and Grinder were orphaned as tiny cubs almost 13 years ago and they would have perished or been destroyed if the Grouse Mountain Resort hadn’t come to their rescue and built the 5.5 acre enclosure where they now live. They will never be reintroduced to the wild as they are too habituated to humans, but their habitat is much the same as their wild cousins and we supplement the food they find in there with carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, salmon and the odd watermelon.
By having the grizzly bears on Grouse Mountain we have been able to observe their behaviour and have learned a great deal about what can be done for future orphaned cubs. As well, tourists and locals alike have been able to spend time watching them up close and appreciate the importance of protecting the environment for these beautiful creatures.