See Maine Black Bear Cubs Live in Their Den!
See a Maine black bear! Live! In her den! With her cubs! Right now!
Well, right now she’s sleeping, but the cubs are lively, the noise is amazing, and the camera takes you right into the den, a unique and exciting experience.
You can see it all, 24/7, at a new website established by the Wildlife Research Foundation, founded recently by my good friends, the Goodmans of Patten, Maine. The Goodman family has put their money and energy and effort where their hearts are: with Maine’s outstanding population of black bears.
The Goodmans — Dale and his sons Burt and Hank, with their wives — own and operate Maine’s top bear and deer hunting lodge, North Country Lodge, and have been active for many years in conservation and hunting issues. I’ve worked with them for more than twenty years and can’t say enough good things about them.
Dale’s wife Ellie is an accomplished painter. In fact, I’m looking at her painting of a pair of loons on a remote pond, as I write this column.
The Goodman family has taken some economic hits lately, as the deer herd disappeared along with their nonresident deer hunting customers. They went from 106 deer hunters a few years ago to six last year, and have given up on deer hunting in Maine. But they haven’t give up on our state, and this new project may define their future here and step up their conservation contributions many fold.
Because this isn’t just a chance for you to see a live bear and her cubs in her den – although that is pretty spectacular. The Wildlife Research Foundation’s goal, in Dale’s words, “is to provide funds and support to the scientific community and wildlife managers to enhance wildlife and habitat research and inform and educate the general public concerning the value and necessity of wildlife research.”
The Foundation, a 501 (C) nonprofit, seeks tax-deductible donations for this purpose. You can donate at the Foundation’s website. I’ve just contributed $25, and hope you will join me in this important work.
But hey, I need to tell you about Lugnut, our denned female black bear. She gave birth to two adorable cubs on January 16. Check out the website’s archives to see what you missed.
Two of the finest wildlife biologists in the country, Randy Cross and Jennifer Vashon, radio collared Lugnut, along with two other bears, Spunky and Nell, whose stories are also on the website.The project is a collaboration between the Goodmans, their foundation, and Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
When I led the 2004 referendum campaign to save Maine’s bear hunt (with my sister Edie Smith who managed our campaign and who is helping the Goodmans with this project), against large national animal rights groups that put an initiative on Maine’s ballot to end bear hunting and trapping in our state, I had to raise $1.5 million to educate Mainers about hunting and bear conservation in this state.
Most of that money went to brief TV ads. I’ve always wished we could have put that money into wildlife conservation projects to benefit the wild critters we all love. This foundation, with your support, interest, and contributions, will not only entertain us, but will also educate us about our fascinating black bears and raise money to assure that there are always black bears in Maine’s forests.
Check out Lugnut, now. But please be quiet. She’s sleeping.