Bears truly are national treasures; on Sept. 21, school teachers at Isaac Dickson Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina took an adorable video of a mother teaching her cub how to use the slide on the school’s playground.
The big mama bear expertly glides down the slide while her cub climbs up the jungle gym. She then lopes over to the slide and plops down at the end, patiently waiting for her child to take the plunge. The cub inches slowly down the slide, and when they get to the end, their mother tackles them in an aptly named bear hug, seemingly in celebration of their triumph over the slide.
The two roll around on the ground for a bit, and, honestly, it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Black bears are the most adorable, and I’m probably going to die by trying to pet a black bear in the wild. What a way to go, though.
Much Smarter Than We Give Them Credit For
As indicated by the behavior of this family, black bears are much smarter than we initially thought. They learn and adapt to their surroundings well, according to Oklahoma State University’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management researcher Sue Fairbanks.
For example, when one couldn’t get to a corn deer feeder because of an electric barrier, they just figured out how to unplug it. “When they learn things like that, they will teach their offspring,” said Fairbanks. It seems like the mother bear on the slide is doing just that, in this case teaching her offspring how to conquer the playground.
Fat Bear Week 2021
There’s nothing better than kicking back with an iced cold beverage and looking at some fat bears. It’s my preferred activity, and it takes up my Sunday nights. Football? Never heard of her. Fat bears, though, that’s what I’m talking about.
Every year, as hibernation approaches, Katmai National Park holds the Fat Bear Contest. This bracket-style competition ranks the fattest brown bears against each other, eventually crowning the Heaviest Bear.
Last year, a big chunky boy named 747 won the coveted title, weighing in at 1,400 pounds. This year, voting begins Sept. 29 and runs until Oct. 5. Currently, voting for Fat Bear Junior is ongoing; similar to Fat Bear Week, this contest pits the fattest cubs against each other in a bracket, and the winner goes on to compete against the seniors.
Additionally, a bear nicknamed Chunk is back and chunkier than ever this year; in a tweet from Explore.org, Chunk is seen waiting on salmon in the Brooks River, with last year’s champion 747 in the foreground “for scale.” The salmon, who provide around 4,500 calories per fish, also participate in an annual ritual: swimming upriver to spawn. This feeds the bears, who bulk up for hibernation.
Chunk returns to the falls for the end of summer season in a fetching coat of fall fat. 747 for scale in the foreground. Who wore it better? pic.twitter.com/ANMyaCCPNf— explore.org (@exploreorg) September 1, 2021