There is an amazing place in Idaho, USA that we in New Zealand love and support and it is called the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation or IBBR. This is a place where a team of people work tirelessly to help bears in need, bears that are unwell and need medical help, they may have become lost, cubs separated from their mothers for various reasons or have been orphaned due to the mother or father being hurt or killed. or bears that are simply trying to find their way home. Yes in this world there are wonderful people that care for the magnificent Bear but there are also the sad stories along with the warm and fuzzy ones. 

There is so much I could write about Bears as being one of my animal totems they are a part of me and my spirit, but I will leave you with the wonderful and wise words of Sally Maughan, from the start with her beloved Ruggles in 1989 to the bears recently released, a Wildlife Rehabilitator and Founder of IBBR and now past president, Sally played a major role in the world of Bears. I had chatted with this lovely lady on several occasions and what a courageous and strong woman with a great sense of humour she was, but her connection to the Bears, wow, she is indeed the Bear Lady. Did I mention she not only spoke Bear but Coyote too.

The following snippet is from  'About IBBR.'

'Thank you for stepping into the world of bear cubs. We think of bears as powerful predators, elusive shadows, or mysterious creatures of the woods. For many, an experience with a bear means a visit to the local zoo or a brief glimpse while hiking. Bears embody many moods, personalities, attitudes, behaviors, and traits. As with people, bears are different during the various stages of their lives. I have the opportunity to get to know them intimately during the first eighteen months of their life. That is the knowledge and expertise I can share as a wildlife rehabilitator. After the bears leave here, they take charge of their own life and take their place in the population. I'll leave it to the bear experts and biologists studying bears in their natural habitat to share their knowledge of bears in the wild.

Having been a wildlife rehabilitator since 1978, I had no idea of the life changing experience that was about to land on my doorstep. It happened in May, 1989 and arrived in the form of a tiny, very adorable bundle of fur and claws, a living, breathing teddy bear....or so I thought. Within two weeks of his arrival, I knew Ruggles was going to change my life drastically. This teddy bear in disguise became a full fledged bear and I was on the ride of my life. Each hour, each day, each minute was unlike anything I'd known in my years as wildlife rehabilitator. Each new day was more exciting than the last and most of all, I was appreciating life more than ever before. I knew my world now belonged to bears.'

(From Amy Kidwell, IBBR. "It is with great sadness that the founder of the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation, Sally Maughan, died on Sunday, October 10, 2021 at the age of 75. Sally, raised at her beloved Redfish, loved animals all of her life and started rehabbing animals at a very young age. She spent many years in the travel industry and I'm quite sure she used most of her income to save many and various animals, and in fact used her retirement funds to keep IBBR running more than once. 

IBBR began with Sally and a 5lb bear named Ruggles. In the 32 years since then, over 250 bears have been through Idaho Black Bear Rehab - which is amazing - but there are also untold numbers of bears who have been saved all over the world because of the people who were encouraged by Sally to start other rehabs, and all of the anytime-of-day-or-night phone calls where Sally shared her experience and advice with people who were trying to save bears, as well as teaching members of the public who have learned and grown and fought for bears to be saved. She never failed to return a call and she couldn't rest until she had an answer for you. An absolutely determined person.")

Amy Kidwell, licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator is now the president of IBBR and doing an amazing job with a great team, such a beary awesome way of life. 

Pictures from IBBR

Wycksted is beary proud to help support IBBR and we hear that wonderful people donate foods and items to help with these bears. 

IBBR have many projects and goals including:


Maintaining the enclosures. 

Funding on hand for bear transport - they never know when they will get the call.

Money on hand for food when they get bears.

And of course they have the routine stuff, too: Insurance, taxes, property maintenance, emergency funds, etc.

We so enjoy watching the antics of the Bears and seeing them grow with the help of IBBR and modern media of Instagram and Facebook. So currently without rescue Bears at the moment one never knows when they will arrive nor how many. As you can imagine the costs are high for food and other needs, unlike our beloved cats and dogs a small bowl of kibble will not suffice. 


From the Wycksted notes.

Is Bear your spirit Animal Totem? Bears are from the family Ursidae and there are eight species of bear.  The most widespread species is the Brown Bear, which is found in parts of Western Europe, through Asia and to the western areas of North America. The American Black Bear is said to be restricted to North America, and the Polar Bears habitat is the Arctic Sea. All the remaining species of Bear are Asian.  Bears of northern regions, including the American Black Bear and the Grizzly Bear, hibernate in the winter.  During hibernation, the bear's metabolism slows down, its body temperature decreases slightly, and its heart rate can slow from a normal value of 55 to just 9 beats per minute.  Bears normally do not wake during their hibernation, and can go the entire periods without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating.
Above us in our skies the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the great and little Bears, are named for their supposed resemblance to Bears.  The nearby star Arcturus means ‘Guardian of the Bear’ as if it were watching the two constellations.  Ursa Major has been associated with a Bear at least 13,000 years since Palaeolithic times.  
The Bear symbolises introspection and moving within yourself to find answers, much like the Bears do during hibernation, they move within the earth and withdraw from the cooler weather.  Having a Bear as your spirit animal not only speaks of this inward focus upon yourself to find your answer, but also the bear teaches us to use our courage and strength. Bear will stand by you to help with assurance of renewed power and courage, they will hold you firm and help keep you grounded until hardships pass as they are a strong source of support in times of difficulty and provides a stable foundation to face challenges. The Bear is resourceful, an opportunist and able to come across food from a variety of sources.  This resourcefulness can be transferred into your own life with the ability to find solutions to problems you face, being resourceful and drawing on other means may be an option for you. 
Bear can teach us so much, they teach us how to value our environment and to seek the sweetness and fun in life and balance in all we do. They are protective especially of their young. When the Bear shows up as a spirit guide in your life, it’s perhaps time to stand up for your beliefs or your truth. The Bear is also a guide to take leadership in your life or in other people’s lives. This animal admired for its strength but also feared for it as well. Its powerful stature will inspire you to step into a leadership role in your life and take action without fear.  Reflect on the qualities of confidence, courage, fearlessness and inner strength in yourself and how you can project them in your world, however it is important to not misuse these powers and to use them wisely. Honour Bear and always give thanks when he/she happens to stroll into your life.

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