The Wildlife Research Institute in Ely, Minnesota, has announced that Lily the black bear gave birth to two more cubs on Saturday, January 2012. The Lily Den Cam captured the black bear when she rolled onto her back shortly before 1:00 a.m. and pushed out two cubs in full view of the camera.
“Lily was restless Friday evening and surprised us by giving birth a week earlier than she has previously,” Lynn Rogers of the North American Bear Center said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to hear the sounds of healthy cubs.”
The Wildlife Research Institute notes that lying on her back varied from Lily’s previous births and from what researchers expected. After she rolled onto her back, a first cub was quickly delivered and a second followed approximately 20 minutes later. Researchers say that Lily revealed to them that there is considerable variation in birthing dates.
Researchers note that the cubs’ voices are growing stronger and stronger as the days go by and that they are now hearing the more familiar hum. Although the temperature has now dropped from above freezing at the time of their birth to only 9 degrees Fahrenheit, Lily has been keeping the cubs warm with her breath.
According to The Duluth News Tribune, the births caused a surge of activity on the “Lily the Black Bear” Facebook page, which has more than 146,000 “likes.” The newspaper reports that more than 100 volunteer den-watchers will continue recording observations about Lily and her newborn cubs.
The Wildlife Research Institute also notes that the births have made the “virtual baby shower” fundraiser on Lily’s Facebook page a big success. On the day of the cubs’ births, the institute raised $1,300 for the Hope Learning Center.
The Duluth News Tribune points out that the camera in Lily’s den is one of two cameras that researchers have set up in dens this winter. The other camera is located in the den of Lily’s sister, Jewel. Lily’s cubs have not yet been named, as the Bear Center is likely to hold a “name-the-cub” contest in the coming months.
According to National Geographic, black bears are North America’s most common bears. They usually live in forests and are expert tree climbers.
During the winter, black bears hibernate in their dens, feeding on body fat they have stored up by eating all summer and fall. Female black bears, like Lily, give birth to two or three blind cubs in mid-winter and nurse them in the den until spring. Lily’s cubs will stay with her for about two years.