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Watch: Grizzlies emerge from hibernation at Grouse Mountain wildlife refuge

Grinder and Coola stayed in their den for 171 days this winter, their longest ever hibernation period in their 21 seasons at Grouse Mountain.

How would you like to be greeted with applause after waking up from a long nap?

That was the reception given today (April 28) to Grinder and Coola, Grouse Mountain’s resident grizzly bears, as they emerged from hibernation.

This was an extra-long rest for the two bears, as their 171-day hibernation period set a record for their longest winter dormancy period since arriving at Grouse Mountain, topping the 170-day hibernation they recorded last winter. This was the 21st hibernation period at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife since they both arrived in North Vancouver as orphans following separate incidents in B.C. in 2001.

Grinder was found wandering alone on a logging road in Invermere in 2001, weighing only 4.5 kilograms. His mother was never located. Coola was orphaned on a highway near Bella Coola after a truck hit and killed his mother. He was the only one of his three siblings to survive.

“We’re excited to welcome Grinder and Coola out of hibernation and to watch them explore their habitat,” stated Dr. Ken Macquisten, wildlife refuge director and veterinarian, in a Grouse Mountain release. “Hibernation through the winter is a natural way for Grizzlies to conserve energy during a time of low food availability. As our team works to gradually expand their habitat to its full size, we welcome guests to visit the bears at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife and stay connected with them virtually from around the world.”

Grinder and Coola were monitored by Grouse Mountain staff throughout the hibernation period, and a live feed from inside their den was shared with the public. The live feed is now available to track the bears as they explore the outdoors once again.

Grouse Grizzlies DevinManky WEB
Grouse Mountain’s resident grizzlies Grinder and Coola enjoy the great outdoors on April 28 after emerging from a 171-day hibernation period. photo and video Grouse Mountain