This is incredible on so many levels. The video you're watching is of a black bear named Jewel giving birth to two cubs. The delivery was captured live via webcam just two days ago by scientists at the Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) in Ely, Minnesota.
For those who've never seen a bear giving birth (I'm guessing that's most of you) this is obviously a sight to behold (click here for a detailed account of the hours and minutes leading up to Jewel's delivery), but even more incredible are the sounds made by Jewel's cubs — and how human they sound.
The first baby bear sounds can be heard starting a little before two minutes into the video, as Jewel greets her newborns. They can then be heard crying out periodically throughout the rest of the video. Just sit back and listen for a few minutes — you'll hear it. Let biologists Sue Mansfield and Lynn Rogers, from the WRI's North American Bear Center, describe what you're witnessing:
At 0722 and 0840, Jewel became active and greeted each cub with motherly grunts... The cubs didn't have their full voices at first. They only squeaked and chirped. When they were quiet, Jewel was quiet. When they gave their squeaks and chirps, Jewel answered with attentive grunts and moved to rectify whatever was wrong. The cubs will let her know when they can't reach a nipple, when they feel a draft, and when they have to relieve themselves. Jewel will hover over them, keep them warm and give them access to her nipples as she breathes on them. Temperature at the time of birth was 19F.
Absolutely incredible. And best of all? You can keep tabs on Jewel and her cubs yourself! The webcam monitoring Jewel's den is up and running as you read this. I just checked it — Jewel was sleeping and I could hear her snoring (adorable), but then her snoring was interrupted by the sound of a plane flying overhead (less adorable).
In any case, the webcam will remain fixed on Jewel and her family until they leave the den in April. According to Mansfield and Rogers, the cubs' eyes should open in early March. Learn more about the North American Bear Center on bear.org and bearstudy.org. Click here to visit Jewel's Den Cam.