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

Jayda Monilaws raises over $7,000 of cupcakes for Central Alberta Humane Society

This is the most the 10-year-old Red Deerian has raised so far

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

Jayda Monilaws is selling cupcakes again for Central Alberta Humane Society

The 10-year-old Red Deerian is selling cupcakes today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read