Monday, 24 January 2011

Lily's cubs are born



Jason_on_snowmobile_-_adj



At lunchtime on 21st January many people around the globe heard a squeal coming from Lily's den. A few hours later they heard the same thing. So it has been confirmed that cubs have been born but there still is confusion as to how many. The first reports said 2 but now there are reports that a 3rd and 4th came in.
A video of the birth(s) is posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuH5ADPwx3Q, see what you think.
Lily put everyone on alert on 20th Jan when she clenched her teeth at 5:08 PM.  Last year, teeth-clenching signaled the onset of labor, and Hope was born 21 hours and 39 minutes later.   This year, teeth-clenching to the birth at 1:51 PM on 21st Jan was 20 hours and 43 minutes.

However this year the Bear Centre had many more worries. At 12:30 AM on 20th Jan, Sue was awakened by a call from a Den Cam Team member in South Africa saying the Den Cam was down.  Several calls later, the Team decided someone had to snowmobile to the shed and fix something.  Sue awakened Lynn at 1:30 AM with that news.  But the temperature was near 40 below zero.  Preparations had to be perfect to avoid a calamity.  Lynn said to wait for first light despite the possibility of missing the births as the journey would be a very dangerous one.
After a dilemma as to who would be the person to brave these kind of conditions it was decided that it would be Jason as he was the youngest. By 9:15 AM, Jason had the video streaming again.
The next worry was whether Hope would disrupt the new litter by trying to nurse, letting in potentially lethal cold on these days of near record low temperatures. Everyone was surprised to hear Hope still suckling as Lily was bracing for delivery of the 1:51 PM cub. We also were surprised by how quiet Hope was during and after the delivery.
So the question is has she had more than two cubs? We know that there is at least two because video footage captured showed one cub nursing and one cub squawking. But at 11:29 PM Lily began the same insistent grunting that accompanied Hope’s birth last year and the births yesterday at 1:51 and 3:03 PM.  Could Lily give birth to a third cub more than 8 hours after the second?  We'll keep you posted. Also if you want to keep up with the daily diary from Lily's den then log onto www.bear.org.
Emily Wallington

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