UTAH (ABC4) – What better way to celebrate the month of February than by reading the most tender love story to ever exist?
On February 15, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources shares the ‘beary’ cute tale about two Utah Black Bears in love.
“The love story we all need,” writes DWR. “It isn’t often that our biologists collar animals that end up pairing during mating season.”
Mating season for black bears usually occurs during the summer months, usually in June or July, when the males seek out and mate with several females.
According to DWR, a pair of two Utah black bears managed to not only spend time together during mating season but also spent a handful of time outside of it too, leading most to believe their relationship meant more than just business.
“Usually, a male black bear moves on to find another mate soon after breeding, but this couple spent a lot of time together last summer, meeting up on three separate occasions.”
The Utah Division of Wildlife was able to track the migration and movements of the bears through GPS collars. Since the start of the Wildlife Migration Initiative program in 2017, DWR biologists have tagged thousands of individual animals from a variety of wildlife species, including black bears, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, mountain goats, mule deer, pronghorns, and cougars.
If you watch the video above, you will note the female black bear walking long distances in search of a male companion and then sticking with him over a long span of time even past mating season.
Now will this bear love story result in any bear cubs?
According to the DWR, after mating with their companion, Female bears then go through a process called delayed implantation, meaning the fertilized egg will just roam about the bear’s uterus. If conditions are good during the winter, and she’s entered hibernation in a healthy state, the egg will then implant and develop.
“She even has her babies during hibernation, while she sleeps! If her cubs survive and all goes smooth, it’ll be two years before she decides to mate again,” they explain.
According to animal experts, at birth, cubs are blind, hairless, and weigh only 8 to 10 ounces. The mother’s milk, containing over 20 percent fat, is very rich compared to human milk, which contains only 4 percent fat.
The young grow quickly and when the mother and her cubs emerge from the den in April, the cubs can weigh 4.5 to 9 pounds. Although they continue to be nursed throughout their first summer, the cubs also begin eating solid food.
“Cubs leave the mother following their second winter when they are 16 or 17 months old. Young females are allowed to occupy portions of the mother’s territory, but the males are forced to move on to find their own territory,” they inform.
Black bears are named the same as hogs—males are boars and females are sows, but babies are called cubs. In the wild, they can live to be about 25 years old.