Our Communities

Black Bear Essentials on Aug. 20

by David Kelley, Community Journalist

GREENSBORO – On Sunday, Aug. 20, at 3 p.m., at the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro, Ben Kilham, wildlife biologist, bear rehabber, and author will be speaking about the black bear (and possibly even panda bears). The program is free of charge.

Presented by the Greensboro Conservation Commission and the Vermont Wildlife Education Fund, the audience will learn answers to any and all questions about the lives and habits of the bruins.

Ben Kilham has been rehabilitating and releasing injured, orphaned and abandoned black bear cubs brought to the Kilham Bear Center by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department since 1993. The Center receives cubs from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

Ben Kilham and his nephew, Ethan Kilham, are the primary bear caregivers. Kilham’s wife, Debbie, helps with the very young cubs. Phoebe Kilham was working with the bears, but is now doing the GPS mapping for the collared bear research program with the State of New Hampshire.

Cubs brought in early spring of one year will be released by New Hampshire Fish and Game the following spring. They begin their stay in the center’s indoor enclosure and graduate to one of the outside forested enclosures. Being in the forested enclosure provides the cubs with the opportunity to learn and to improve their climbing and foraging skills as they would in their natural environment.

There are natural and man-made dens in the forested enclosure for the cubs to use to hibernate for the winter. When spring arrives and they emerge from hibernation, the Center again supplements their natural foods so that when the time comes for them to leave, they will be healthy and strong and ready to return to the wild. The center is not open to the public as all of the cubs will be returned to the wild and minimizing human contact is required.

Ben Kilham recently became a movie star. “Pandas,” an IMAX 3D film was recently released featuring an extraordinary partnership between Kilham and Chinese researchers, who are relying on his expertise to reintroduce rare giant pandas to the wild.

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