Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ely Minnesota

One of the great things about being on the North Shore of Lake Superior is that there are tons of cool and out of the ordinary things to do.... and you are constantly learning!!!!

Today we headed 1 1/2 hours north to Ely MN to check in on some wildlife.

First stop - International Wolf Center....
We learned a lot about the science of tracking wolves and the information the scientists gain from watching the patterns of the wolves.

 Accomplished a little wolf research on body features.  Theoretically we can all tell you how to identify the differences between a wolf, a coyote, and a domesticated dog (hint - it's in the ears and tail mostly).  As well as some games to learn about the food chain in a wolfs diet.

We learned a lot about the life cycle of a wolf and even got to see a cavity in tooth.

 And of course.... we got to watch the wolves!

The International Wolf Center has live cams so you can watch the wolves...

After a good education on wolves, you think we'd be tired of wildlife - but no....
Onto the North American Bear Center (one of our favorite places!!!!)
The North American Bear Center is an amazing place.... it has anything and everything you'd ever want to know about bears!  
 Because black bears are the bears we'd likely encounter, they do a lot to educate the public on black bears and they want to eliminate the fear that people have over black bears.  Black bears are known to be easily frightened and peaceful - and by educating people that they aren't the snarling bears you see in movies, they hope to decrease the number of bears shot in fear.  In MN bears are legally hunted 6 weeks a year, but unfortunately many of the bears that are killed are also research bears.  We watched  a great documentary on it and sadly, both my girls were in tears.  Nicole now would like to find a job to help the bears!
 The guy above is Lucky.  He's 19 years old and LOVES people.  He is the only bear here that was born/raised in captivity (legally).  He grew up with a people family, and loves people.  He will give happy grunts when people come see him. 

The girl below is Tasha - she's a yearling (18 months I think) and still adjusting to the other bears.  Her momma was hit by a truck and after attempting to release her in the wild, she was deemed unable to return.  (I think that's the story).
 While the other bears were roaming the woods we studied up a bit....
 This bear is the original "Smokey The Bear".....  
He was a little cub that was rescued from a forest fire - then personified into the Smokey we all know.  We also saw the photographic story of the bear that was the "Winnie" and read all about the story of the hunting trip that President Theodore Roosevelt was invited on that ended up with the creation of the first Teddy Bear!

 We even got to be there for the release of a monarch butterfly that emerged from its chrysalis earlier today.
 Then the other bears - Holly and Lucky came out to eat.

Holly is the youngest (with the lightest snout) at 3.  She was separated from her mom due to a wildfire and wasn't able to walk.  Someone found her and took her in.... unfortunately, to their home.... so she wasn't able to be released to the wild.   Lucky is the oldest of these two.  He's 9 and was born in the wild.  He was taken from his den after his mother died - and once again, unfortunately into someone house.... so he too was unable to fend for himself and be released into the wild.   You getting a picture of what NOT to do if you find a bear cub in the woods.  :)

If you want to watch the bears in action (even watch them hibernate) you can watch the bear cam....

We had a great day with the bears and the wolves - and learned a lot!!!!

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