Yesterday, City Pages brought you the story of the oldest black bear ever known, a 37-year-old gal who lives in northern Minnesota.
She's a sweet lady, and her story is in some ways tragic: Hunters shot at least 14 of her 18 female cubs, and she's been totally alone for at least the last 10 years.
As of right now, she goes by "Number 56," a reference to the first tag number she got from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
We don't think that's good enough. Let's name this bear, and claim her as our own.
If this old lady is going to go down in the record books, we can't let her do it as "Number 56."
For some background before you make your choice: She's lived up north her whole life, and is currently near Clubhouse Lake. She's recently gone grey around the face and paws, and is beginning to lose her teeth to age. She's decent sized, weighing 192 pounds last time she was on the scales, but comes in with a trim 19 percent body fat.
Dave Garshelis, a DNR researcher who's known Number 56 for nearly three decades now, says she's pretty peaceful, and doesn't fuss when researchers visit her den and poke her with a tranquilizer needle. But he also said she's averse to human contact, and is almost always trying to get away from people, which probably explains why she's still alive.
Also, she's a bit of a loner. Since she had her last cubs at age 27, Number 56 has never been seen with another bear.
So, any ideas? We'll take submissions in the comments, and the City Pages staff will choose the best one and announce Number 56's new name on Monday.
Here's a nice profile picture, taken while she was tranquilized, to inspire you.