March 19, 2017 9:23 pm
Updated: March 20, 2017 8:25 am

Saskatoon zoo’s grizzlies wake from hibernation for 1st time

WATCH ABOVE: Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo grizzly bears, Mistaya and Koda, have successfully completed their first hibernation.

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It’s a sure sign of spring. Mistaya and Koda, the grizzly bears at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo, emerged Friday from hibernation for the first time.”On Friday, the bears let us know. They got to the doors of the den and gave them a good old shake to let us know that they wanted to go out,” zoo manager Tim Sinclair-Smith said on Sunday.

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This was the first time the two male bears had hibernated because the enclosure lacked a proper den. On Dec. 6, 2016, after their new winter home was renovated, the bears followed their instincts and embraced hibernation.

“There’s two cues that they normally get when they go into hibernation. One is obviously the temperature, it gets really cold … and the second is food. Normally in the wild there’s no more food so they’ll go into their dens and into the hibernation process,” Sinclair-Smith explained.

WATCH BELOW: Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo grizzly bears complete 1st hibernation

Throughout the hibernation, zoo staff monitored the bears using a motion-sensor camera and are going to use the data for conservation research projects.

“A lot of people think that when bears go into hibernation they just sleep the whole time and don’t move at all. But that’s not the case, they actually do show sometimes quite a bit of activity.”

After three months, the bears have lost a little bit of weight and are being re-introduced to food slowly, starting with veggies.

“In the wild they wouldn’t just come out [of hibernation] and there’s all of this salmon floating around. They would normally start by foraging for leafy materials. That’s exactly what we’re doing.”

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