Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation: Winter Greetings from a Sleepy Bear

Written by “GRrgtggr” the bear, translated by ASCCA summer student Zachary Mager

Hello! It’s GRrgtggr the bear. I wanted to write my second letter to all of you since the last one was written over a year ago and a lot has happened since. First you may ask how I am writing to you at this time of year when I should be sleeping. Well, according to scientists, and my own internal clock, I am not a true hibernator. I’m simply not as impressive as the wood frog, who is able to freeze solid during winter hibernation and defrost upon spring to hop again.

Since I am such a large animal, I go into a process called torpor. In torpor my body slows down, and I sleep for large periods of time, however on a nice sunny winter day like this I can wake up groggy (having no impact on my writing skills I assure you). That is why in summer I must eat and eat and eat, storing enough food so I don’t have to leave the warmth of my den during the winter. If you ever do hear a large growl during the winter, do not investigate, that is a hungry bear, and not a happy camper.

Speaking of summer, the last was quite enjoyable. You might have seen signs of me along the trails if you weren’t lucky enough to see me at a great distance. Signs along the trail included my scat which yes, I left lying about. If you took time to take a peek, you would have seen the many berries I found around the Cross. Thinking of them makes my stomach growl! The berries included buffalo berries, saskatoons and raspberries amongst others. I also got myself into a couple of ground wasp nests for a tasty insect treat. These were easy to come by last summer. As I am still a kid at heart and a fun-loving bear, you might have seen my claw marks on an aspen tree after I climbed it.

In my last letter, I wrote about safety measures and respect when you find yourself unexpectedly the company of a bear. I must say that the ASCCA leadership camp kids last summer did an incredible job when they spotted me by the aspen shelter. One of the girls calmly made deer antlers to notify the leaders of my presence (a signal campers and school groups make when they see an animal to quietly direct people’s attention to them). I have poor eyesight, so I stood up on my two hind legs to get a better smell of the group. This was my territory, so I did not leave, nor did I walk closer to the campers. The group quickly got the point and slowly walked back the way they came, leaving me alone. When they were a great distance away, they started singing camping songs to ensure I would not follow them. I prefer my peace and quiet, as do all bears. Speaking of which, it’s time for me to get back to napping.


That is all for now.

Big yawn!
Best Regards,