Why The Difficulties for Yona (and the others)

Yes, it’s true, no photos yet. I’m still in bed, but wanted to follow-up to my last post. I hope that people “get” what’s going on for Yona and the other bears. I assume some people would think Yona would be thrilled and the other bears would welcome her with open arms. Some elaboration to explain what’s going on.

Yona grew up being bottle fed by the same person and then living in the same exhibit at ABR with other young bears hoping to be released back to the wild. Then, she was packed up in small crates for almost 12 hours, and when she came out, she was in a totally new place: concrete walls, stonedust instead of dirt to walk on, no trees or bears next to her, different smells, sights, sounds.

I’m sure all this makes sense, but let’s go further. Bears are solitary animals. Bears only spend other time with bears when they are cubs: Mother bears raise their cubs (usually have one or two at a time) spending the first 18 months of the cubs’ life rearing them and teaching them life’s lessons. Hopefully, the cubs are quick and good learners and remember the skills they learned because around 18 months old Mom, before bedding down for winter and having her next cubs, kicks them out to be on their own for the rest of their life.

Our current bears- Ursula, Mimi, Virginia, and Gus- have all worked through the growing pains of living in captivity and working things out with each other. They establish a pecking order and learn each others behaviors and know how things work. There are “fights” at times: mostly these are “screaming” and “stomping” and “chasing”. This all works in captivity, and artificial environment, because we give lots of food and the bears learn- they’re smart.

Now, Yona is around, in sight and smell at this point, and is messing with this order.

There’s more to say about this, but enough with words. I hope this explains at least a little more. Please ask questions if you have any. All will eventually be fine, but the road ahead is long and will be trying.

1 response to Why The Difficulties for Yona (and the others)

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    Tyler says:

    So nice to meet Yona today- thanks for letting us follow her progress through the blog… the Buckner family will enjoy watching her grow up!

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