With temperatures reaching the mid-teens on Saturday morning, Grouse Mountain Resort’s resident grizzly bears woke from their long wintertime slumber to a small crowd of onlookers.
Grinder and Coola emerged from their den after a 146-day-long hibernation period and immediately began playing with each other in the mounds of snow that fell within their habitat.
Ahead of the bears’ anticipated awakenings, mountain crews erected electric fencing around the den near the Peak Chair Lift to establish the boundaries of the animals’ large 5.5-acre enclosure. The habitat occupies ski terrain and consists of a variety of natural elements – such as ponds, hills, trees, fields, logs, and large rocks – to keep the bears active and curious.
“It’s wonderful to witness Grinder and Coola excitedly emerge from their 15th hibernation period”, said Dr. Ken Macquisten, Refuge Director and Veterinarian, in a statement. “The annual awakening of the massive male Grizzlies signals the coming of summer adventures and we are very pleased to once again invite our guests to visit us at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife.”
After being deemed unreleasable, Grinder and Coola began living at the mountain in 2001 when they were just small orphan cubs.
The circumstances of Grinder’s family when he was orphaned are not known, but he was found weak weighing just 4.5 kg. On the other hand, Coola’s mother and two siblings were killed following a collision on a highway near Bella Coola.
Both bears experienced their 15th birthday during their recent hibernation period.
In 2015, Grinder and Coola woke up more than a month earlier than usual on March 6. Record warm temperatures, to the extent that Grouse Mountain became snowless as early as February, caused the bears to become exceedingly restless in the den.