The women at the Wednesday night knitting group told me about the web cam in Lily's den.They were all very excited about Lily and the indications that she is A, pregnant, and 2, nearly ready to give birth.
Lily is a wild bear in the woods near Ely. Minnesota.
Researcher(s) at the North American Bear Center installed an infrared web cam in Lily's den.
Here's what they posted earlier today:
Update – January 22, [10:35 a.m. local time]Lily is keeping over 14,000* viewers in suspense. Among them are the researchers who stayed up all night logging bouts of labor and being amazed at Lily’s occasional body slams. We suspect hard cramps are what make her slam her body around in the den so hard the camera shakes and booms. We have never heard of such behavior. Is this common during labor, or is it unique to Lily. We first observed labor yesterday at 1:59 PM CST (we’re in Minnesota) as Lily lay on her back flexing the muscles of her head as she clenched her teeth for 41 minutes. She then left the den briefly—perhaps to defecate due to pressure on her colon from the fetuses. At 4:23 to 4:30 PM, she had another bout of labor trying to stand on all fours, pushing up against the roof of the den and straining. The bouts continued all night with no particular pattern of timing. Especially violent body slams were at 10:51, 10:52, and 10:54 PM.
With help from the Associated Press and radio stations across the country, more and more people are learning about bears from Lily and from the information on bear.org. There was a 10,000% increase in visitors to bear.org yesterday than the same day last year, and we hope it keeps growing. To keep the website from crashing, we shut down the web store and membership area temporarily. This means we also had to delay introduction of the Lily t-shirts. We are extremely delighted to see such interest in bears. We again thank everyone who is helping with donations. There is so much more we want to do when the debt is paid off.
We are looking forward to the birth, not as the culmination of the watch but as the beginning of learning how Lily cares for the cubs through each stage of their development.
Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, North American Bear Center
#2 Son called at 11:30 a.m. to see if I knew about Lily and the web cam at bear.org. I had tried to get to the web cam on Wednesday night, but Firefox wouldn't load it — some nonsense about not being able to load Shockwave/Flash — and I had given up. He suggested I try Safari. Success!
Never one to keep good news to myself, I passed the word.
The Safari window open stayed open to the live feed whilst I continued perusing blogs and working through my email in Firefox. iTunes was playing Requiem for a Dream when I heard a squawk and whimpering.
Lily had birthed the first cub! (Squawk = baby, whimpering = mother; everyone who has given birth or witnessed a birth can empathize**.)
The baby bear was never actually visible when I was watching, but it was clear that Lily was licking it and nuzzling it down into the warm space by her abdomen.
Share the news.
#2 Son called again to be sure I had witnessed the birth. He said his co-workers told him that a mother bear breathes on the baby snuggled against it to keep it warm.
More blog perusal and email chores.
At 12:07 p.m. I heard another squawk — baby #2 had been born!
Hurrah for the internet!
Right now it is 12:49 p.m. and Lily is squirming again periodically. That may mean that baby #3 is imminent.
I tell ya, the excitement never stops around here!
* When I tuned in to the web cam, there were 19,000 viewers. A few minutes later at 11:38 CST, right after the first cub was born, there were 24,000. At 12:03 there were 48,000 and I was unable to get into most of the rest of the website, probably because of the huge number of hits. At 12:49 the number had fallen back to the 19,000 range. Only the hard-core watchers, i.e., those who have to/can sit in front of their computer for an extended period, apparently.
** Although why a 200± pound mother actually feels significant labor pains when birthing an infant that weighs less than a pound (200 – 450 gr) mystifies me.