We have seen that bear cubs at ABR really like to murdalize saplings in their enclosures. The small trees, carefully planted and nurtured (when there are no cubs in residence) by the curators, are irresistible to cubs and yearling bears. Perhaps they are a challenge – “I’m stronger than you are!” or it’s just fun to bend one down and watch the sapling pop up again. Over the years, our cubs have “murdalized” many poor little saplings, and it seems that this year’s cubs are all in. We have a sequence of pictures from Wild Enclosure #4, where the four female cubs reside, that shows the murdalization in progress.
You can see that the sapling is not doing anything – just minding its own business.
Suddenly, there was an unprovoked attack by one of the cubs (we can’t tell which one).
It all falls down – cub and sapling both.
The attacker stands on the downed sapling, perhaps to show that she is triumphant, or to make sure the sapling is defeated.
After the cubby gets up, the sapling behaves as expected – SPROING!
Sapling looks fine! It is a strong little tree and will live to confront another cub, another day!
It seems like this scenario is played out every year, with each new group of bear cubs. We’ll probably see it happen again this year. Stay tuned.