Bears & Butterflies

Bears Emerge from Torpor ‘Cocoon’ Just in Time for World Bear Day

March 25, 2021

Like butterflies undergoing metamorphosis, our bear residents retreated to their dens during the cold season and have since emerged…well, just as stinky and silly as ever!

They made their entrance back into the “real world” just in time for World Bear Day, which was celebrated this past Tuesday, March 23. There was special enrichment for all nine of our furry, burly residents.

Bam Bam the grizzly spent the day splashing in his pool. Russian Brown Bear, Huggy, partied by destroying as many trees in his habitat as possible, much to the dismay of his unbiological sisters, black bears Holli and Lolli, who just wanted to climb. Young black bears, Xena and Koda G, also clambered up in the tree tops to look over the rolling Ozark hills and see what they missed during their torpor. Harley and Thunder rolled and wrestled in the grass, while Michael lazed around looking unBEARably cute.

Bears, no matter their age, are the toddlers of the Refuge. They require constant, ever-changing entertainment lest they become destructive and mischievous. Due to their natural intelligence and curiosity, their enrichment program rotates more than that of any other animal resident. They certainly keep our team creative and engaged in coming up with new things for our bear residents to play with!

Of all the bears who call the Refuge home, Huggy might be the most difficult to entertain. His sheer size and personality make it easy for him to reduce enrichment items to nothing in a matter of seconds. This is why we’re excited for his opportunity to reside in one of our natural bear habitats, built in October 2018. This large habitat incorporated the trees and plants already residing on our land in order to encourage natural bear behaviors. While we still have to provide plenty of entertainment for this bodacious brown bear, his surroundings do a fantastic job of keeping him occupied.

Visits to many of our bear residents are limited for the time being due to the pandemic. However, beloved grizzly, Bam Bam remains one of the first animals you encounter as you exit the gift shop to take your tour. If you’re unsure why he’s so popular, we encourage you to visit and find out; it won’t take long for it to become obvious!

Booking ahead is the only way to guarantee a spot on our tours, and you can do so at tcwr.org/visit. Tours leave in the Spring and Summer every hour on the hour from 9 AM – 4 PM. We ask that you arrive at least 25 minutes before your scheduled tour time and continue wearing a mask (even if you are vaccinated) until further notice. You will be with a tour guide for the entirety of your visit; after strolling through the Discovery area accompanied by the guide, you will spend the rest of the tour on our open-air tram.

Our popular lodging accommodations, including the Bam Bam Bungalow Glamping Tent, are also open for bookings. Click here for pricing, pictures, and to reserve.