Who needs groundhogs when you have a couple of massive grizzly bears to signal the start of spring?
To the delight of gathered visitors, Grouse Mountain’s resident grizzlies, Grinder and Coola, emerged from their den Tuesday morning after a 153-day nap and slid around in the snow.
Beautiful spring weather greeted the 17-year-old bears who have called the mountain home since 2001 when they were rescued after being orphaned during separate incidents in Bella Coola and Invermere.
Their recent hibernation period has earned a tie for the longest since their arrival at Grouse Mountain’s Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. While Grinder and Coola snoozed, staff monitored the bears via an infrared camera placed in their hibernation den and the live feed was shared with the public on Grouse Mountain’s website.
“We’re pleased to welcome Grinder and Coola out of hibernation and watch them playfully explore their habitat,” stated Dr. Ken Macquisten, refuge director and veterinarian, in a release. “Hibernation through the winter is a natural way for grizzlies to conserve energy during a time of low food availability.”
Grouse Mountain visitors can watch Grinder and Coola playing and exploring their habitat through the warmer months.