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John Myers, Forum Communications Co., Published June 08 2010

Black bear cub Hope doing well, with help

DULUTH, Minn – Hope, the Internet-famous black bear cub, appears to be doing well and hanging around an area where food is being left for it in the woods west of Ely.

Bear researchers Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield are returning to the area daily where Hope is staying most of the time in the safety of trees. According to a report posted by Mansfield, the cub has eaten grapes, blueberries, formula, hazelnuts, mealworms and more food left for it.

Mansfield has taken photos and video of the cub and the cub’s travels also are being recorded on automatic, motion-activated digital trail cameras that snap photos.

The cub has been abandoned by its mother, Lily, in the last two weeks. The researchers have said they hope to place a miniature transmitting collar on the 5-month-old cub so they can continue to monitor its location if it moves.

The two bears became famous worldwide over the winter when a webcam recorded Hope’s birth and first weeks of life in the den. Their separation in recent weeks has attracted international attention.

Rogers has said they hope the supplemental feeding will allow the cub to survive until wild food such as berries ripen later this summer. The bear also is in an area where Rogers and several residents feed bears so Hope should have access to more food.

Rogers says he can learn more by helping the cub survive than by letting it die in the wild.

The researchers say they want to learn how it develops its diet, where and how far it travels and how it relates to other bears and deals with their territories – all without the usual guidance from a mother. They also are curious how the bear will prepare for hibernation and how it might react when it runs into its mother, noting it’s possible the cub could rejoin its mother at some point. It’s also possible the mother bear could try to kill the cub.

“We’re looking forward to Hope answering so many questions as she grows up,” Mansfield’s recent post said at www.bear.org.

John Myers is a reporter at the Duluth News Tribune