Korkeasaari bears wake early from winter hibernation

The brown bears only slept for two months and emerged earlier than usual due to the mild winter weather.

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File picture of brown bear at Korkeasaari Zoo as it emerged from hibernation, 18th February 2020 / Credit: Korkeasaari

The two resident brown bears at Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo have woken early from their winter hibernation due to warmer weather, after a two month slumber.

The females, age 19 and 14, went to their winter nests just before Christmas which was already later than usual, and ventured outside again for the first time on Tuesday.

The Korkeasaari bears usually hibernate from early November until as late as March. During this time their metabolism slows down as a way to conserve energy during what would be a period of limited nutrition in the wild.

The bears woke up a few days ago but zoo keepers waited to see if they might go back into hibernation mode.

“We let them outside after checking everything was okay with their enclosure. This year it was easy since there wasn’t any snow” says Hanna-Maija Lahtinen from Helsinki Zoo.

“Their butts have only got a bit smaller, so they haven’t lost much weight during the two months” she adds.

Since waking up the bears have been eating lettuce, apples and carrots as well as grass inside their enclosure. Keepers expect them to be outside for short periods of time between taking more naps

File picture of bears at Korkeasaari Zoo as they wake from hibernation, 18th February 2020 / Credit: Korkeasaari

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