Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update on Lily

So be honest, how many of you were "held captive by Lily" this weekend? Anyone? Am I the only one?

Yeah, I think I'm the only one.

But seriously, though, I never would've thought that watching a black bear sleep would be all that exciting, but it's better than anything on network TV right now. Truthfully, she actually doesn't sleep much because her newborn cub (who we've gotten a few glimpses of in the last couple of days) usually starts screeching shrilly just as she begins nodding off. This is followed by Lily's dove-like cooing to relax the baby and the contented chipmunk-chatter sound that the little tyke makes when he's nursing and happy. Since it's snowing up there in Minnesota, Lily keeps her back to the camera so that the baby is pushed against the back of the den and sheltered from the cold with mama wrapped around him like a warm blanket.

Right now Lily's webcam has almost 3,000 viewers watching live and her Facebook page has over 63,000 fans who are bombarding the site with questions about bear behavior and habits and - best of all - sharing their stories about how watching Lily in her den is re-shaping their ideas and notions about bears. Donations are poring in to Lynn Rogers and his North American Bear Center for the work they're doing here. They've received almost $35,000 so far and the number keeps climbing. I intend to be contributing to the cause myself later this week.

It's very exciting to see how people have responded to this. I think deep down there is a strange fascination with bears in all of us - some type of spiritual link if you will - and a desire to know and understand them better. Not only is Lily inspiring that right now, but she's providing a much-needed ray of light in the lives of a lot of people as well, and even though she will remain in her den until at least April, I for one won't be able to resist taking a peek every now and then to see if she's nursing, sleeping....or taking a peek back.

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