Smarter than the Average Bear?

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We have learned that Lucinda Bear is a very smart little yearling.  When Curator Coy needed to move her into The Cub House a few days ago, he used a Havahart Trap that he baited with cherries to capture her for the move.  He hid out of sight, listening for the sound that the trap had been sprung.  All he heard was the sound of the bear eating.   He peeked and saw that Lucinda had taken all of the cherries, but was not in the trap!  After rechecking the trap, he baited it again with more cherries, but put some of them very close to the trigger, thinking she would definitely spring the trap.  When he still didn’t hear the trap springing, he peeked around the corner again and saw Lucinda carefully removing cherries without tripping the trigger.  Coy made a sound that startled the bear, and – success! – she was caught for the move.

The saying is”smarter than the average bear,” but we think that bears are very smart, indeed.  Biologists agree, and rank the intelligence of bears at just a notch below that of primates.  They learn and remember.  For example, Lucinda had only one previous experience with a Havahart Trap, and that was when she was caught to be brought to ABR.  It surely appeared that she remembered the contraption and cleverly avoided being caught, until Coy startled her.

Here she is on the climbing log in The Cub House.


Lucinda climbs on the climbing log in The Cub House.

We have photos of three of the other four yearlings out in their Wild Enclosure.  They spend their time relaxing or snoozing in trees, coming down to forage for food.  If they were in the wild, the routine would be much the same.  Yearlings are on the lowest rung of the bear hierarchy ladder and try to stay hidden as much as possible.


Alonzo Bear snoozes in his tree.

Skipper Bear has adopted a most unusual pose.  He appears to be all legs and paws. Yearlings can often be recognized as such by their gangly appearance – all legs.  He is living up to the yearling model.


Skipper Bear has assumed a most unusual position in his tree. Guess it’s comfortable for him.

Finally, here is Milo, who is still hanging out at ABR.  It’s been over a month since he was scheduled for release.  Like Lucinda, Milo is a very clever bear.


Milo is still taking advantage of ABR’s hospitality. He really needs to leave.

Wily did not appear when these photos were taken, but he’s there somewhere and is doing as well as the others.