Keeping Bear No. 56 In Our Hearts

Note: We here at BEAR HQ would like to put all show promotions, curse words, and other music-related stuff on hold for a moment.  

Our beloved Bear No. 56 hanging out in the woods. (pictured here wearing a radio collar, which the animal hardly notices once its on). Photo credit: MN DNR

Our beloved Bear No. 56 hanging out in the woods. (pictured here wearing a radio collar, which the animal hardly notices once its on). Photo credit: MN DNR

A lot of people who cross our band's tracks ask why we're called BEAR. No, it's not an acronym or a play on my last name or a deliberate continuation of the current trend of animals as band names. It's pretty simple, actually—we've got a fondness in our hearts for the Genus Ursus; known to most as bears. They are brilliant, complex, surly, strange, and elusive animals of the northern terrain, and the more you find out about them, the more impressive they become. 

All of this said, it comes as sad news that the world's oldest living bear—only known to researchers as Bear No. 56—has passed away at age 39.5 in the beautiful wilderness of northern Minnesota. A black bear, 56 was a mother of 22 cubs in her lifetime, successfully raising 21 of them to be nice, polite, grown-up, berry-picking black bears. She slept through 39 long winters (5 more than the previous oldest known bear), only to awake rejuvenated and ready for more life in the north country each spring. We'll be keeping No. 56 in our hearts at our Acadia show tonight. And while the story may be sad, it's a pretty wonderful thing that she passed away of natural causes in her home territory, and not at the hand of a hunter's gun or trap. 

Thinking of you, Bear No. 56.

-Mike, and the BEAR family