Henry - Black Bear
One of our newest additions found his way to the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary due to an all too familiar story:
Some people were feeding bears regularly in the area around Fallen Leaf campgrounds. The mother bear was fed so regularly that she was entirely dependent on handouts. Eventually she became so brazen in her search for food to feed her cub that she slapped a person in a tent. Fish and Game darted the mother and brought her in to their Rancho Cordova facility with her cub still clinging to her side. Due to the fact that this was not her first infraction and the need to test for rabies, Fish and Game was required to euthanize her. The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary was asked to accept her cub to prevent him from being euthanized as well.
While at Fish and Game he was neutered and his blood-work performed. He was small enough that he could be transported in a dog crate. He was then moved to our quarantine pen pending the results of his tests. He will be introduced to his new home and our other bears in the weeks and months ahead.
Updates from Zoo Keeper Amy
April 1, 2011 - Henry has moved! He is officially living in his “big boy bear” exhibit. After just a couple of weeks, Henry has gradually made his way down the long hallway past the adult bears (who were safely locked away). It took lots of courage for him get by one in particular; our only female, Tahoe.
Now, it’s true that mother bears are extremely bonded to their cubs. They will nurture and protect them at all costs. But, Tahoe has never been a mother and it’s not really her style to pretend to like little ones…or big ones for that matter. She is pretty aggressive to the other bears except her roomie, Sequoia whom she’s grown up with. There have been a few occasions in the wild where cubs will be “adopted” by another sow for one reason or another but, that is not common. And again, Tahoe isn’t the maternal type. But once Henry realized that she could not “get him” he became more confident to move past her and venture out into the awaiting playground that would be his new “territory”.
Henry’s been having the best time climbing trees, digging holes and playing in the pool. He’s even started coming nose to nose (through the protective wire of course) with the other bears, Tahoe included! She seems to be tolerating him much more but every now and then gives him a snort and chomp of the jaws to remind him who’s boss.
Be sure to join us on Saturday, 16 April 2011 to celebrate Bear Day! Hooray for Henry! There will be lots of activities and excellent information on bears and how to keep them wild. But the best part of all, you’ll get to see Henry. J
Mar 16, 2011 - Henry has had an exciting couple of weeks. We are in the process of introducing him to his new, larger exhibit where he can be seen by zoo visitors. Unfortunately, it’s on the opposite end of where he is living now. It wouldn’t be a big deal except that he has to go through a long, scary hallway, past four adult bears. He is completely secure as we have safeguarded the hallway with protective wire but, he doesn’t realize that just yet. The adults are only moderately interested in him and for the most part, they check him out for a bit before going back to minding their own business.
Wild bears wouldn’t normally hang out together as adults. They are solitary animals and would only come together for breeding. Of course, cubs stay with mom for up to 18 months and sometimes, siblings will stay together for the first few years but, then they go their own way. In captivity, bears are often forced to occupy the same space or live within close proximity to one another. Like people, some bears get on well together and others don’t. We have two pairs; Woody and Marty (both male) who are good buddies and Tahoe (female) and Sequoia (male) who have grown up together. Then we have little Henry. Imagine sending a child into a room full of adults and expecting him to be comfortable. It will take a little time and patience before Henry gains more confidence and feels safe to be near the adults. Once he does though, you never know how it will turn out…he could become good friends with one of them!
Mar 10, 2011 - New Photo's of Henry in the Gallery!
Mar 1, 2011 - Henry came from Zepher Cove in Lake Tahoe, where it snows heavily. So, if Henry were living in the wild, he would most likely be hibernating right now. He would probably emerge from his den by mid April, or sooner if warm Spring weather was in full force. In the fall, bears fill up on grasses, acorns, berries, grubs and some carrion (dead animals) to prepare their bodies for the long winter. The chosen den site for hibernation could be anything from a large rock ovMerhang, a hollowed out tree, under logs or even under a building. Bears usually excavate the den themselves but often times take up residence in one that was built by another bear.
During the hibernation period, a bear’s metabolism slows down. Their bodies subsist on all of the food they’ve eaten in the fall. Females usually give birth during this time. Bears do not sleep constantly as one may think. They wake and groom themselves and if the weather is warm enough, they may venture outside for a bit. Out of all the bear species, the Black Bear is the most active during the winter.
Here at the zoo, our bears don’t go into a true hibernation. This is because they have a constant food source and it is not cold enough. However, they do exhibit some hibernating behaviors such as eating a lot more in the fall season and preparing their den site. Anything and everything goes into the bear dens. Then again, this is something they do year round. Henry especially loves to ‘sleep with’ any toy, log, branch or box he is given. Our adult bears do the same thing. I guess it just goes to show nothing beats a warm, cozy bed!
Feb 15, 2011 - The time is almost here when Henry will be moving into a larger exhibit and on view to the public. Work has been underway for the last month to put up a protective ‘BEAR-ier’ in between the bear enclosures. This barrier will keep Henry safe while he learns to adjust to moving up and down the bear hallway past the four adults. The barriers will also keep the adult bears, who don’t get along very well, safe from each other.
Little by little, keepers will give Henry more access to the hallway until he is comfortable with his new routine. We will ensure that every day is a positive experience, and all of this will be done on Henry’s terms and in his time. We will not force him to do anything he is not willing to do. However, it is expected that he will move along nicely as he is quite a curious and brave little guy! If all goes as planned, you can look forward to seeing Henry sometime in March.
Feb 1, 2011 - Play is an important part of growing up. It helps to develop social attitudes, physical coordination, and it’s just plain fun! Most cub play is “play fighting” which is essential to the learning process. All cubs initiate play fighting with siblings or mom and will do so until 5 years of age. This skill teaches them boundaries, how to fend off rivals, and most importantly, how to stay alive.
Unfortunately, Henry is an "only cub" and has to suffice with keepers (who can’t go in with him) and large teddy bears. Those three giant teddys have provided comfort to the little guy since his first day at the zoo. He’s laid upon them for warmth and carried them to his bed to snuggle with while he dozed. But, now Henry’s outgrown those silly bears and decided to play fight with them and show them a thing or two. Well, he did. In two weeks, Henry has annihilated two large teddys! He was found in the afternoon among piles and piles of teddy bear fluff. It was in the pool, in his den and in his hair. Poor Teddys…they didn’t stand a chance!
Jan 18, 2011 - Right now, Henry is almost a year old. If he were still with his mother, he would be exploring and learning all of the essentials to becoming a successful adult bear. She would be teaching him how to find & eat specific food on his own, how to recognize threats and she would even spank him to make him obey. Obviously, because Henry will live out his days in captivity, he won’t be requiring the types of skills necessary for survival but, many of them are instinctual and he’s demonstrated some of these behaviors on his own.
Case in point: We have recently begun modifying the bear enclosure to ensure Henry’s safety (and the other bears’ too). So, to get Henry used to his new routine, we opened a large den door that has been closed since his arrival. This opened door allows Henry to not only see the large exhibits but also, the other adult bears. Although the adults were locked a safe distance away from Henry, his instincts kicked in to high gear, and he bolted up to the top of his enclosure as fast as he could. He stayed there for a few minutes looking outside with an occasional chomp, huff or snort (indicating that he’s aware there is a threat nearby). However with a bit of coaxing, it wasn’t long before he came down into the newly opened area and bravely checked out the situation. Ok, raisins and peanut butter didn’t hurt either!
Jan 4, 2011 - Henry has had quite a busy month! In late November keepers noticed a “hot spot” on Henry’s left rear flank area. Since Henry also needed a few other procedures done, he was immobilized and given a general physical. During the examination, his two lower baby canines were becoming loose and infected so they were removed. (Not to worry! He’ll get his adult canines soon enough!)
Henry’s thick hair was shaved around the hot spot so the area could be cleaned thoroughly and inspected. He received his rabies vaccine and a few blood and tissue samples were taken and sent off to the lab. Results later came back that he was positive for mites. So, he is currently undergoing treatment and seems to be healing nicely.
Henry also had his ear tag removed. Henry arrived at the zoo wearing an ear tag that was put in place by the California Department of Fish and Game after Henry and his mother were captured for her first bear/human conflict. The ear tag is a way for Fish and Game to identify wild bears and keep track of them.
On top of all of that, Henry had his first Christmas and seemed to enjoy it very much. His hair has been growing back in and not only is it blonde but, he looks like a baby Grizzly Bear! He’s adorable! We can’t wait for you to meet him in person!
Nov 15 - Henry has only been with us a little over two months and has already gained 30 lbs! He has quite the appetite and is not as picky as the rest of the bears…yet. He seems to be the only bear who likes broccoli (a little bit) since he always eats the stem and leaves the rest.
Henry learned his name in just a couple of days and like the other bears, comes when he is called. Henry is very smart and busy (like most toddlers) and following in the footsteps of all the bears before him, is learning to paint. He had his first painting session a few weeks ago and caught on quickly that good things come from smearing a paint covered paw over a canvas…really good things like grapes, honey & nuts.
In early November, we opened up a larger portion of the yard that he is currently living in. Now, he can enjoy a larger pool and see two of the four bears that he’s been hearing and smelling since his arrival. He was a bit timid at first but, with lots of enrichment and encouragement from keepers, he realizes he is safe and having fun in his new surroundings.
Oct 20 - Our cub gets his official name "Henry", thank to all of the 3,200 people who voted!!!
Oct 14 - Check out the great TV coverage by Good Day Sacramento
Oct 1 - We have new photo's of the cub in our Photo Gallery
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