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Mild winter wakes Korkeasaari bears from hibernation

The brown bears hibernated for only two months due to the warm winter conditions, according to zoo officials.

Karhuja Korkeasaaressa.
The Ursos arctos bears at Korkeasaari emerged from their hibernation on Tuesday. Image: Annika Sorjonen / Korkeasaari

Two of Korkeasaari Zoo’s prize attractions — 19 and 14-year-old female brown bears — woke up from their hibernation on Tuesday. They only slept for two months due to an unusually mild winter.

The bears retreated into their winter dens exceptionally late last year, only a few days before Christmas. On Tuesday morning, they woke up to weather which was as snowless as it was when they went into hibernation.

The Korkeasaari zookeepers said that despite the mild winter, the bears enjoyed a good uninterrupted sleep.

Story continues after photo.

Karhuja Korkeasaaressa.
As winters have become warmer, the bears have hibernated for less time. Image: Annika Sorjonen / Korkeasaari

After waking up from their slumber, the bears have been eating lettuce, apples, carrots and springtime treats.

Their winter dens still remain open as the bears may not stay awake all day yet.

The bears of Korkeasaari usually hibernate from early November to February-March. In the more snow-free areas of the south where food is available all year round, bears don’t hibernate at all.

However, in northern Finland, hibernation can last for half a year — from October to April.

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