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Jackie Runions (left) shares her photos of a recent trip to the North American Bear Center in Ely with fellow "Lilypal" Jan Anderson during a gathering Monday at the Ground Round in Duluth. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

United by love for cub, online bear fans gather in Duluth

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Listening to the 16 people who gathered Monday at the Ground Round, you might have thought the "Lily" and "Hope" they mentioned were cherished family members.

And even though the duo highly spoken of are mother and cub black bears, they are like family to thousands of devoted fans who've come together largely through the "Lily the Black Bear" page on Facebook. They organized an in-person meeting Monday at the restaurant in Duluth after bonding over the Internet.

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