How Bears Make Friends … Learning to Trust

Bears are typically solitary animals and are rarely observed interacting with one another apart from mating season. However, a family structure remains intact for the bear’s first 30 months, cubs depend on their mothers for survival. If you visit the wild bears at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary (which I wrote about in a few other posts) …. you will observe mothers taking care of their cubs, but avoiding and chasing off all other bears. The males avoid all bears or challenge the smaller/weaker bears for territory or food … The only bears you will see playing together are the cubs with/without their mothers.

bears playingThere is a second organization in northern Minnesota dedicated to educating the public about bears. The North American Bear Center is located in Ely, Minnesota. The center consist of educational exhibits and a captive bear enclosure. It is currently home to three bears: Ted, Honey and Lucky. Here is a snap of Honey and Lucky venturing out of the den and playing in the snow this March (picture taken from the website).

“The mission of the non-profit North American Bear Center is to advance the long-term survival of bears worldwide by replacing misconceptions with scientific facts about bears, their role in ecosystems, and their relations with humans.”

Unlike wild bears, captive bears need to learn to get along – be friends. When a new bear cub was introduced at the North American Bear Center in Ely, the process of the bears becoming friends was observed and videoed. Here is an article about how the bears made friends at the center. The procedure does not seem much different than people becoming friends:

  • Be yourself.
  • Display friendly gestures.
  • Be honest.
  • Respect everyone.
  • Stand up for your rights.
  • Be patient.
  • Be cautious.
  • Learn to recognize and be familiar with another’s personality

The Key to All Friendship seems to be … Trust Over Time.


~ by bearyweather on April 6, 2009.

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