The Saskatoon zoo and fRI Research announced a five-year agreement in July 2017 to collaboratively study the captive bears to answer scientific questions about the long-term conservation of the species in Canada.
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Preparation for the grizzlies’ third hibernation has been underway for several weeks with help from a wildlife nutritionist.
The zoo is predicting each bear, which weighs around 347 kilograms, will lose about 150 kg during hibernation.
“We are very excited to see that Mistaya and Koda are continuing to follow a normal weight gain and loss cycle as they prepare to enter their third hibernation,” zoo manager Tim Sinclair-Smith said in a press release.
“As their bodies continue to adjust to an annual hibernation schedule, we are closely monitoring and comparing Mistaya and Koda’s weight each year to that of their wild counterparts.”
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A live camera feed will be available in the hibernation dens. The zoo will use it to closely monitor behavior, activity levels, and breathing patterns.
Both Mistaya and Koda were orphaned in Alberta 13 years ago. The cubs were paired at the Calgary Zoo and later transferred to their permanent home in Saskatoon.