Warm winter delays hibernation for black bears

ALBION Ind. (WANE) – During this time of year, it’s usually pretty quiet at the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary. But the warmer than usual winter is getting in the way of sleep for the sanctuary’s black bears.

According to Lori Gagen, Executive Director at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, this time last year they would have already been in hibernation.

“The last three years in a row the black bears have been sound asleep by now,” said Gagen. “They might wake up and stir around. Maybe get a drink of water and re-nest. They also would have typically stopped eating.”

Gagen said she’s not sure when they will go into hibernation this year, or how long they will be sleep.”

“It’s a rare situation with the weather,” said Gagen. “So I guess time is going to play out and tell if these bears are going to get to sleep later into the spring. It’s yet to be seen.”

It’s not all bad though. Gagen said it’s a welcomed break for the animal keepers. By this time of the year animal keepers are usually bundled up in multiple layers.

Some animals are also getting more playtime outside. The animals haven’t been put in winter heated buildings yet.

“We’ve had enough seasonable days that a heat lamp has sufficed to extend their outdoor time,” she said.

Black Pine Animal Sanctuary is closed for their “normal” season but will reopen to the public in May. Guests can call to schedule private tours during the off-season.

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