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Rise and shine: Grizzly bear pals emerge from 19th hibernation at Grouse Mountain

Grinder and Coola usually awake to a crowd, but the ongoing pandemic forced a more serene welcoming

After a long 144 days of hibernation, grizzly bears Grinder and Coola have emerged from their slumber at Grouse Mountain – this time without a crowd.

Marking their 19th hibernation at the North Vancouver resort, the furry duo “were happy to frolic in the remaining snow and bathe in a small icy pond” after digging their way out of their den on Tuesday, Grouse Mountain said in statement.

They were also given a welcomed snack of lettuce, carrots and sweet potatoes – all foods that replicate some of the food types grizzlies would normally find this time of year in the wild.

“A bit of wresting and food gathering seemed to wear them out quickly as, after an hour or so, back they went to their den for a nap,” Grouse Mountain said.

In recent weeks, resort staff had been busy digging out the shelter where the pair hibernate, also known as the “bear hotel,” according to Dr. Ken Macquisten, director of Grouse Mountain’s Wildlife Refuge.

The two grizzly bears were brought to the North Vancouver resort in 2001 after being rescued separately from Bella Coola and Invermere.

Since then, they’ve formed an unlikely friendship.

“At 19 years of age, Grinder and Coola are in their prime. They remain best friends, and are never far from each other, which would be unusual for two male Grizzlies in the wild,” Grouse Mountain said. “You certainly have to get along to hibernate together for 5 straight months, and these bears have done it effortlessly every year since they were cubs.”

Now, Grinder and Coola will spend time exploring the habitat’s 5.5 acres, searching for natural food and grazing. By summer, they’ll have access to berries and other fruits, fish and meat.

Grouse Mountain remains closed due to the ongoing pandemic, making access to the resort prohibited indefinitely. But those interested in checking in on the two big bears can connect virtually through live webcams.

“In the meantime, Grinder and Coola will be patiently waiting until we can safely welcome you back to the Mountain.”


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About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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