Wednesday, August 14, 2013

8/14 West Yellowstone, MT

After so many days of dust and no electric, it is VERY nice to have full hookups and an RV park with paved streets and patios, grass, and a convenient Laundromat.  I did four loads yesterday and one load today.  Plus, I washed my motorhome by hand.  It is a very hard job for someone as old as I am and as short as I am.  I have a brush with an extension handle, so that does help.  It is extremely nice that they allow you to wash vehicles here, as most places do not. 

One of the places I have been looking forward to visiting is the Grizzly Discovery Center.  It is a fully accredited non-profit zoo and not only has rescued grizzly bears, but also wolves and some birds.  They have nine bears and seven grey wolves divided into two packs.  There are three sets of sibling bears that were rescued while young, while the rest came in individually.  Unfortunately, they are at their maximum and cannot take any more.
While it is small and their budget is low, the nice thing about this place is that they alternate the bears in the large open space.  They have an area where they have placed large logs and big rocks, under which they hide food so that the bears have to overturn the rocks and move the logs in order to get it.  About every hour-and-a-half, they hide food and allow a new set of a few bears to come out of their "dens" to find it.  Twice a day, they allow children to participate in hiding the food.
And the ravens are waiting to steal some food, but since they cannot move the rocks or logs, they have to wait for the bears.  They call loudly to notify their peers that it is now bear feeding time.
And here come the bears!  I was there in the afternoon and they had only two bears out at one time.  When I came back at 6:30 p.m. for the wolf feeding, they let out five at once.  (FYI, they are all spayed or neutered.)  I asked the naturalist how long you could leave five adult grizzly bears in the same pen:  the answer was only as long as they were busy with food!  Note the raven in this photo with a stolen piece of food. 
When you see two bears very close together, as in the photo below, it is likely they are related.
When I came here early in the afternoon, the wolves were sleeping, other than a few minutes when an ambulance came by and they started howling.  I decided to return when they were about to be fed so I could see them closer to the fence. 

The bones in this last photo, by the way, was old and not part of their current dinner.  The naturalist told me they cannot feed their animals road kill because in Montana, until recently, it was illegal to collect road kill.  I told her in Michigan, we eat road kill.  If you hit a deer with your car, you can take the meat as long as you notify the sheriff! 
On the way out, they have a display of the various "bear-proof" containers they test.  They put food in them and put them in the bear enclosure to see if the bears can open them!

It was getting to be my dinner time after I left here, so of course I rode a couple of blocks to the ice cream shack and took some Huckleberry ice cream home for dinner!

1 comment:

  1. I think they should hide children INSTEAD of food for the bears to find... much more suspenseful.