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New mic emits bear facts

ELY - Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers has installed a new microphone at the den of Lily the hibernating black bear.

The $5,000 loaner mic replaces one that emitted poor, scratchy sound -- and Rogers said the difference has been amazing. Every little grunt from Lily and squawk from her 5-week-old cub can be heard more clearly.

"We're impressed with the quality of sound we're getting -- this is recordable sound that might help us learn more about vocalizations" between sows and their cubs, Roger said, noting he visited the den to install the mic on Thursday.

The audio and live video feed can be seen at

Meanwhile, in addition to the constant live video feed, there are also some video clips on the Web site that show Lily very much awake and doing things like eating snow by stretching her head out of the den. The clips also on occasion show the new cub which should become much more visible and active as the little bear begins to open its eyes between 6 and 7 weeks. (The Feb. 18 clip quickly shows the cub squawking to get out from under mom's fur.)

Several den-cam watchers, including Rogers, report seeing the cub blink, which means those eyes will open soon. Dozens of volunteers from around the world are watching the video around the clock to record any activities by Lily and the cub.

The audio and video of the Jan. 22 bear birth and hibernation are believed to be the first ever of a black bear in the wild. The cub and mother will leave the den in April.

The Bear Center's "name-the-cub" contest for Lily's cub ends today at midnight; entries can be made at the site. Rogers said Friday afternoon that the center has had more than

7,300 entries for more than 3,100 names and was getting 50 to 60 more an hour.