Orphaned baby bears saved in Romania


This video from Romania says about itself:

26 February 2016

The Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni set out to rescue bears suffering cruelty in the entertainment industry – but just occasionally, they’re called upon to act for wild bears too. When rangers reported two tiny abandoned cubs found in a forest near Brasov, our partners leapt into action, ensuring they had the best possible chance of pulling through.

From Wildlife Extra on this:

Tiny baby bears rescued from forest in Romania

Head of UK Campaigns at World Animal Protection, Alyx Elliott, said: ‘Forest Rangers had found a bear den with the cubs which seemed to have been abandoned. They monitored the den for a few days and when there was no sign of the mother bear returning they knew they needed urgent care and decided to bring them to the AMP sanctuary. It is sadly probable that the mother bear had been shot and killed.

In the wild, mother bears can nurse their cubs for up to two years. Without her, these two babies will require special support and diligent monitoring if they are to survive. Luckily they’re now in the right place, which is why World Animal Protection has been funding the sanctuary for many years.

Many of the rescued bears at the Romanian sanctuary have been freed from zoos or other captive environments and they simply can’t be released into the wild. But, it is hoped that these beautiful cubs can one day return to their natural habitat.’

Hibernating brown bears and bacteria, new study


This video says about itself:

Bears’ gut microbes help stave off ill effects of the munchies

8 February 2016

If you’ve ever dreamed of eating as much as you want with no consequences, you might envy the brown bear. Researchers have found that their gut microbiota changes drastically throughout the year, helping them avoid obesity and save energy in winter.

The bugs don’t prevent bears from getting chubby, however. Before going into winter hibernation, brown bears stuff themselves with all the food they can find, rapidly gaining body fat to last them through their long slumber – but they suffer none of the health problems that obesity normally entails as a result. An international team of scientists analyzed fecal samples from 16 wild bears to understand why the dramatic seasonal nutrition changes do not harm their health, an article published in Cell Reports says. The team found that the gut microbiotia in bears changes throughout the year.

“During winter hibernation, the concentration of several specific molecules in the bear’s blood increase, a process that we believe reflects changes in the gut microbiota. When summer is well underway, the omnivorous bear eats varied diet, which increase microbial diversity,” senior researcher Fredrik Bäckhed from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden said.

The team revealed that “summer” bacteria are believed to be responsible for weight gain, while “winter” or “hibernation” bacteria help bears to conserve energy through insulin resistance.

“Studies have shown that the brown bear is insulin sensitive during the summer, while it develops insulin resistance during the winter months, in order to reduce energy consumption in the body and save energy for the brain,” says the press release on the research.In order to understand the mechanism better the scientists tested the bearsgut bacteria on germ-free mice. The mice who received “summer” bacteria gained weight faster than those injected with “winter” bacteria.

The mice that increased their capacity to store fat due to “summer” bacteria, however, remained “metabolically healthy” without suffering from problems associated with obesity.

“Especially interesting was the notion that the mice became fatter without developing insulin resistance, similar to the bears from where the microbiota was obtained,” Bäckhed said.

The scientific team says that it is too early to talk about the practical utility of the discovery, pointing to the need for further studies.

“The study is classic basic research and more studies are needed to arrive at any practical applications. But the bear study provides new knowledge on how gut microbiota affects our metabolism, a finding that may help us to develop bacteria based treatments in the future,” Bäckhed said.

From Cell Reports:

The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos

February 4, 2016

Highlights

•Bear microbiota composition differs seasonally between hibernation and active phase
•Blood metabolites differ seasonally in the brown bear
•The bear gut microbiota promote energy storage during summer

Summary

Hibernation is an adaptation that helps many animals to conserve energy during food shortage in winter. Brown bears double their fat depots during summer and use these stored lipids during hibernation. Although bears seasonally become obese, they remain metabolically healthy. We analyzed the microbiota of free-ranging brown bears during their active phase and hibernation. Compared to the active phase, hibernation microbiota had reduced diversity, reduced levels of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, and increased levels of Bacteroidetes.

Several metabolites involved in lipid metabolism, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and bile acids, were also affected by hibernation. Transplantation of the bear microbiota from summer and winter to germ-free mice transferred some of the seasonal metabolic features and demonstrated that the summer microbiota promoted adiposity without impairing glucose tolerance, suggesting that seasonal variation in the microbiota may contribute to host energy metabolism in the hibernating brown bear.

Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull on show in London


Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull

From the Royal College of Surgeons in London, England:

Real Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull displayed at the Royal College of Surgeons

20 November 2015

Winnie-the-Pooh fans will have an opportunity to see the skull of the bear that inspired the much-loved character in A.A. Milne’s stories, at the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum.

Milne, who wrote one of the most popular collections of children’s stories: Winnie-the-Pooh and later The House at Pooh Corner, was a regular visitor to London Zoo. His son, Christopher, named his teddy bear Winnie after a Canadian black bear who lived in the zoo. Named Winnipeg, and Winnie for short, she was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh.

This video from London days about itself:

The bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

18 January 2014

Ever wondered how Winnie-the-Pooh got his name? This is the story of Winnie the bear, who arrived at ZSL London Zoo a hundred years ago and who inspired AA Milne‘s iconic honey-loving character.

The RCS article continues:

Visitors to the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum in London will be able to see Winnie’s skull and learn more about her.

Sam Alberti, Director of Museums and Archives at the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“Winnie-the-Pooh remains one of the most popular children’s stories ever since Pooh Bear was brought to life on the pages of A.A Milne’s book in 1926.

“Children and adults who visit the Hunterian Museum will now have an opportunity to learn about the real Winnie and how she inspired A.A. Milne.

“Her story and presence in our collection are a reminder of how learning about animal health can enhance our understanding and care for species around the world.”

Soldier and trained vet, Captain Harry Colebourn bought Winnie when she was a bear cub, and he was en route to fight in the First World War. He had enlisted to look after the cavalry units and named her Winnipeg after his home city in Manitoba, Canada.

Cpt Colebourn’s regiment travelled to Europe at the beginning of the war and he brought Winnie as their mascot while they trained on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. When the regiment was deployed to fight in France in 1914, he left Winnie at London Zoo.

Winnie lived through the war and was visited by A.A. Milne and his son Christopher. Photographs from this time show that Christopher was allowed in Winnie’s enclosure at the zoo. After the war, Cpt Colebourn donated Winnie to London Zoo, where she remained a popular attraction until she died of old age in May 1934.

During a recent review of the RCS’s collections, curators identified Winnie’s skull and the story of this treasured bear. Documents show that when Winnie died at the zoo, her skull was donated to Sir James Frank Colyer (1866-1954) the then curator of the Odontological Museum, which was part of the RCS collections. A dental surgeon, he was the first to report on dental variations and diseases in bears. He analysed a number of animal skulls from the Zoological Society of London to compile his comprehensive book on dental disease in animals (Colyer 1936. Variations and diseases of the teeth of animals).

At the time, Colyer noted in Winnie’s skull the loss of teeth, thickening of the alveolar process and sockets filled with bone. He associated this with Winnie’s extremely old age and her food habits. Recent examination of the skull shows that Winnie suffered from chronic periodontitis (an inflammation and/or loss of connective tissues supporting or surrounding the teeth). Colyer’s book, and the skulls featured in it (including Winnie’s), have now become valuable research specimens for biologists and zoo vets who need to treat captive animals for dental diseases.

See also here.

United States police save black bear cub


This video from the USA says about itself:

19 August 2015

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Police officers in Colorado Springs came to the rescue of a [black] bear cub that got its head stuck in a plastic protein powder bottle early Tuesday morning.

It happened just after 5 a.m. when officers saw the cub at West Kiowa and North 14th streets.

The officers tried to remove the bottle but couldn’t, so the put the cub in the back of the patrol car and took her to a fire station, where a Colorado Parks and Wildlife ranger sedated the bear, the Colorado Springs Police Department said.

Firefighters were able to remove the bottle with rescue tools. Wildlife officials tagged and released the bear “in hopes that she will be reunited with mama bear,” police said.

See also here.

Great news! Police in the USA should do more like that; not like this.

Before Cecil the lion, Walter Palmer poached American black bear


Walter Palmer, crossbow and poached black bear in 2008, photo: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

From ABC News in the USA:

See Photos of Black Bear Illegally Hunted by Dentist Walter Palmer Who Killed Cecil the Lion

Aug 13, 2015, 8:19 PM ET

By TAMI SHEHERI, TOM BERMAN and ALEXA VALIENTE

Photos recently obtained by ABC News’ “20/20” show Minnesota dentist Dr. Walter Palmer posing with the large black bear he illegally killed while hunting in Wisconsin in 2006.

ABC News’ “20/20” obtained photos through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Watch the full story on ABC News’ “20/20” on Friday, Aug. 14 at 10 p.m. ET.

Palmer has been avoiding the public eye since the world learned that he killed Cecil, a well-known 13-year-old male lion, just outside Hwange National Park in Hwange, Zimbabwe. He allegedly paid veteran safari guide Theo Bronkhorst at least $50,000 to help him bag a big lion in Zimbabwe when he went on safari last month. In an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph, Bronkhorst said their hunt was delayed and he and Palmer instead went to hunt on a farm abutting Hwange National Park, rather than an approved area.

An accomplished bow hunter, Palmer has hunted big game around the world, including moose, deer, buffalo, mountain lions and even a polar bear, according to the New York Times. And he had gotten into trouble in the past.

In 2003, Palmer was convicted of a misdemeanor in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, for fishing without a license and paid a small fine. Three years later, in September 2006, Palmer was hunting black bear in northern Wisconsin when he shot a bear in an area where he wasn’t allowed to hunt, shown in these photos below.

According to court documents, Palmer had a permit to kill a bear in one county, but he shot the bear 40 miles from away in an area where he did not have a permit to hunt.

“As soon as the bear was killed, Palmer and the three guys he was with — guides — they agreed they would lie about it,” U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil told “20/20.”

Vaudreuil got involved when Palmer took the bear across state lines back to Minnesota.

“He was lying to us. He was offering to pay, it turns out, about $20,000 to keep the others who were in the hunt, to have them lie, so that’s a fairly aggressive cover-up,” Vaudreuil said.

But the bear guides didn’t lie to authorities. In 2008, Palmer pleaded guilty to felony charges of making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the black bear he shot and killed outside of the authorized hunting zone, according to court documents. He paid $2,938 in fines and was sentenced to a year of probation.

In connection with Cecil the lion’s death, Zimbabwe’s environment, water and climate minister, Oppah Muchiniguri, said at a news conference last month that the Zimbabwe government was seeking to extradite Palmer for hunting without the proper permits. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened its own investigation. …

Police arrested Bronkhorst, and he and a farm landowner named Honest Trymore Ndlovu are facing criminal poaching charges in connection with Cecil‘s death. Bronkhorst told authorities that Palmer fired the final blow that killed Cecil.

Cecil the lion: Dentist Walter Palmer tried to BRIBE guides to ‘cover-up’ his illegal bear hunt: here. And here.

Walter Palmer’s Odyssey Didn’t Begin With Cecil — Dentist Allegedly Made Habit Of Illegal Hunting: here.

Syrian brown bear cub at Armenian camera trap


This video says about itself:

Surprised bear cub in Armenia

17 July 2015

A young Syrian Brown Bear is surprised by a camera trap but soon musters enough courage to take a closer look.

From Wildlife Extra about this:

Rare footage of a Syrian Brown Bear surprised by a camera trap in Armenia

A rare young Syrian Brown Bear was taking a walk in the woods of Armenia’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge when he came across a camera trap that first startled and then intrigued him.

The rare footage was caught by the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) on a camera installed with funding from the World Land Trust (WLT).

There are only around 150 Syrian Brown Bears surviving in Armenia and the populations are being monitored and their behaviour studied with the help of the camera traps.

In the Caucasus Refuge there are thought to be as few as two or three bears, which is also home to Bearded Vultures, Bezoar Goats and the endangered Caucasian Leopard.

The main threat facing Syrian Brown Bears in the area are habitat loss to agriculture, mining and quarries, and conflict with farmers over bee hives and fruit growing.

Two new areas of mountain habitat were recently purch[a]sed with the help of WLT, to further extend the potential safe havens for the bears.