Cheers greeted Grouse Mountain’s resident Grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, as they emerged from hibernation yesterday morning at The Peak of Vancouver.
The awakening concludes the bears’ 21st hibernation period at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. During their 171-day winter dormancy, Grinder and Coola were monitored by Grouse Mountain staff via an infrared camera placed in their hibernation den and the live feed was shared with the public on the Grouse Mountain website. This hibernation period is the bears’ longest since their arrival at Grouse Mountain, surpassing last year’s record by one day.
“We’re excited to welcome Grinder and Coola out of hibernation and to watch them explore their habitat,” said Dr. Ken Macquisten, Wildlife Refuge Director and Veterinarian. “Hibernation through the winter is a natural way for Grizzlies to conserve energy during a time of low food availability. As our team works to gradually expand their habitat to its full size, we welcome guests to visit the bears at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife and stay connected with them virtually from around the world.”
Regarded as two of the most popular residents at The Peak of Vancouver, Grizzly bears Grinder and Coola originally came to Grouse Mountain’s Refuge for Endangered Wildlife in 2001 when they were rescued after being orphaned during separate incidents in Bella Coola and Invermere.
Grinder was found in 2001 in Invermere, BC. He was wandering alone on a logging road, dehydrated, thin, weak and weighing only 4.5 kg. His mother was never found so we’ll probably never know why he was alone. Grinder is outgoing and high-spirited. He has established himself as the dominant bear despite his smaller size. If you see Grinder and Coola play fighting, you can bet he started it.
In 2001, Coola was found orphaned on a highway near Bella Coola, BC. His mother had been killed by a truck and, of her three cubs, Coola was the only one to survive. Coola is an easygoing bear who’s content to let Grinder take the lead in new discoveries. He can usually be found submerged up to his neck in the large pond, carefully feeling around for his underwater ‘bath toys’ — a log, large bone and favourite rock.