Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Sunday, 2 May 2010

An Inconvenient Bear

A bit of synchronicity has been operating in my part of the universe. Late last week my local newspaper ran a headline on the shooting of a Black Bear.
The actual shooting took place last June 27, 2009. The bear had worked his way down from the surrounding hillsides to almost the center of our city, a city of almost 60,000 people. The bear was originally observed on the edge of the suburbs, police officers tried to pick up his trail. He was finally spotted in a wooded park adjacent to our recently closed zoo. The officers were alerted and they loss no time sending for high powered rifles. The bear was cornered and frightened. So he did what every Black Bear would have done, he climbed a tree.
Two police officers and a Natural Resources officer made a quick decision, for public safety the bear had to be taken down. Local TV stations showed video of the incident, the officers firing and the bear falling out of the tree.
The killing of the bear became a small controversy. Many people thought the police had used too much force. The bear had by-passed a number of humans on its trek into the city park, including several picnickers. The consensus held by most town folk was the bear had only become confused and had been wandering trying to find a way out. They had wanted him tranquilized and quietly removed back to the forest. The Department of Natural Resources reviewed the shooting and stated the officers had made the right decision. They stated the incident had required immediate action because of the concern for public safety.
The event died down until this new headline. The article made public why the male Black Bear had journeyed so far into the city, an anomaly most people couldn’t fathom. What we didn’t know was that in the former zoo, shut down soon to be an EcoPark, were housed two female Black Bears. The male had been making his way toward them to do a little courting. He had smelled the two females on the wind.
According to an expert, “Black Bears, especially males during breeding season, have a phenomenal sense of smell. They will travel great distances.”
The females are 22 years old and cannot be neutered because they are too old to handle the anesthesia.
The interesting part of this story, in relationship to Bear-Human contact, is that very few people in our city knew there were female bears contained in the EcoPark. Apparently they are being warehoused there.
What this means for us is that we will have continued male Black Bear excursions because they will scent the females and will try their luck at mating. Male Black Bears don’t have much fear during the mating season.
There have been no attempts at educating the public for when or if they are confronted by a bear. We have had a few articles showing researchers and DNR officers crawling into bear dens and hauling out cubs, of course after the female bear has been properly tranquilized. These are great photo-ops because the researchers cuddle the dazed cubs and the viewer can see how cute the little guys are. This gives the unintentional impression that bears are almost domesticated and can be dealt with as if they were pets.
I have queried my co-workers and friends about the possibility of Black Bear encounters. All of then seem quietly concerned. Almost everyone had stories of sightings and reported knowing someone who has already had a Black Bear experience.
The number of personal encounters appears to be growing the last couple of years. Personally, I think we are close to having a tragic incident. The lack of decent education coupled with an underlying fear might set the stage for a violent collision.
Tomorrow— Myth of the Violent Bear Attack

1 comment:

  1. Hi, thanks for such an interesting post. It seems such a shame that you live so close to these wondeful creatures in the wild, yet because of the lack of education - bears are unnecessarily killed.

    I have been to America many times and looked for bears in Yosemite (three times)and Yellowstone (twice). I didn't see them! I was so happy therefore to eventually see a mother and three cubs wandering across the road in Sequoia NP! I didn't really expect to see them there, so I was over the moon.

    I think it's great that you are raising awareness of your local bear's plight. Perhaps you could start a poster campaign/newsletter to explain that bears will continue to try their luck with the females. Perhaps you could get an animal welfare gropup on side to tranquilize any that do before the police get trigger happy in the future. I suppose another solution would be to move the females - but then that is a whole new problem straight away isn't it? (Where do you move them to?)

    Thanks again, and I am looking forward to reading more.