KODIAK MOMENT - Berkley the Bear is celebrating her first birthday at Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Innisfail’s Berkley the bear celebrates first birthday

Discovery Wildlife Park’s newest Kodiak is excited for life this winter

Berkley the Bear, Discovery Wildlife Park’s new addition from 2017, is celebrating her first birthday.

The young Kodiak came to Innisfail in April of last year and is enjoying all the perks of being a child in Alberta.

“When she came in April of last year, she weighed 7.6 lbs. She now weighs 151 lbs,” Head Zookeeper and Animal Trainer Serena Bos said. “She has turned out exactly as we would have hoped in the last year. Her body weight is where it should be, mentally she is doing amazing and she has been learning different behaviours.”

A Kodiak is a subspecies of brown bears which are typically found hunting salmon on the Alaskan coast and grow to be the largest land carnivores in the world. Berkley, being a female, will grow anywhere from 750 lbs. to over 1100 lbs.

Currently she is being fed a mixture of prepared milk, as well as meat, berries, vegetables and grass.

“As a carnivore, she does need that protein. She does eat fruits and vegetables at times and 80 per cent of a bear’s diet can be grass, which a lot of people are not aware of,” Bos said.

As she grows, she will be slowly weened off milk towards other sources of protein.

Along with her growth in size, Berkley has also developed a “soft-souled” personality, according to Bos.

“Berkley’s personality is very sweet, but like all of us people, she will go through different stages and spells — she will have a little rebellious stage just like teenagers do,” she said.

She added that bears in the wild can often be aggressive and their space needs to be respected.

“Their nose is the strongest of all their senses and they can actually smell 20 miles upwind, so you will never fool a bear’s nose,” she said.

Berkley will be moved on from her current location in the next few months to accomodate her growth.

“Berkely is in right now what I like to call a nursery or play enclosure,” Bos said. “She will be moving into one of the big bear enclosures by May 1st or sooner depending on what she wants. Right now she likes being in a bit of a smaller area which is very comforting for her.”

In her nursery, Berkley has already started picking up the habits of adult bears.

“She has a huge den she is actually digging. A lot of people ask about the big lump on their shoulders and that is actually muscle formed from digging,” Bos said.

The tendency to build a den comes from the need to hibernate, which bears in the wild do and what all the other bears at Discovery Wildlife Park do as well.

“Bears in the wild hibernate so they don’t starve to death,” Bos said. “Some facilities do keep their bears up, it is as simple as keep feeding them.

“I am a huge advocate for allowing bears to hibernate because bears have the ability to heal through hibernation.”

She added Berkley is currently not hibernating because she is still very young, learning and “excited for life”.

Central Albertans will have the opportunity to see Berkley again on May 1st when Discovery Wildlife Park opens again for 2018.

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake Pirates force Whitecourt Wild to walk the plank

The Pirates have played their way to back-to-back wins to sit seventh in regular season standings.

Sylvan Lake students prepare for opening night of ‘Almost, Maine”

Students and staff from H.J. Cody have been hard at work since September to bring Almost to life

WATCH: Sylvan Lake’s Daddy/Daughter Dance

The event was put on by SPARC Parent’s Association on Nov. 17

West Central Midget Tigers pounce on Airdrie

The Tigers’ regular season record is 10-1-2 after two wins this weekend

Big Bear Energy makes a big donation to Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau

Big Bear Energy recently gave a donation to help families in need this holiday season

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

Ponoka’s Caleb Shimwell arrested after pursuit

Police allege that Shimwell rammed a police cruiser

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Most Read