Right on time, bears are waking

Don’t let the snowbanks or the cold snap fool you.

Mammoth’s bears are starting to wake up.

You can see them, now and again, lying on top of a snowbank, soaking up some sun before retreating back in their dens.

“The life cycle is beginning again,” said Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles,.

“During the winter we kind of forget about them,” he said. “I know where I live, I can leave stuff out in the garage and it’ll just freeze, and there’s no odor.

“This time of year, we have to start thinking about securing our trash containers and dumpsters and raising the consciousness of our visitors.

“We don’t want to start out on the wrong foot.”

The bears still are in their dens 23 hours a day, he said.

Searles – and Animal Planet – are doing their part, at least.

Beginning April 7, 14 and 21 the television network will broadcast episodes of “The Bear Whisperer,” featuring Searles as he manages Mammoth’s bear population.

The first show covers the largest bears around, like Ace and Half-Nose, that often battle Searles for dominance.

In the lineup, one bear gets cranky when he’s woken up while a second bear is badly wounded and Searles has to make a tough decision.