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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Seattle Bear Problem

Several Seattle neighborhoods are experiencing a current 'elusive black bear' problem. It seems one or more black bears have been repeatedly spotted in different residential neighborhoods and also in play areas of parks, but then quickly disappear into the green belts when pursued.

The bear(s) have been lucky so far to leave the area before animal control agents can arrive. Attempts to trap the animals have been unsuccessful so far. They have been living off garbage and animal pet food, and possible even some small pets. When bears hang out in residential neighborhoods, there is a very real, highly potential danger of a person and a bear coming into contact in a manner that will have an unfavorable outcome. Namely in the form of an attack.

Once an attack occurs, the bear(s) will be trapped and put down, aka killed, without a trial of how stupid the individual victim might have acted that might have provoked the attack. This is not to say all victims are stupid, however it should be noted that if you have a bear problem, you should exercise caution and not take unnecessary chances like going for a walk in the evening just before or after dark, or early in the morning, especially along green belt trails in your area.

Bears typically graze over a five to ten square mile area. If you see a black bear in your residential area, immediately call the police and animal control.

Do not approach any bear, no matter how cute and cuddly it appears. And yes, baby bears do have mommies. If you are out and see a bear, return to inside your home for refuge, or get back into your vehicle (so long as it is not a convertible) and keep your distance. All you amateur photographers, please do not try to see how close you can get with your 'point and shoot' cameras for that wishful "National Geographic" pic to send to Uncle Bill. Hello, anybody home! Bears are wild animals. Without a cage, only distance is your security. By the way, no one wants to see more cute baby bear photographs taken up close by dead 'point and shoot' photographers.

Also, sneaking up close from tree to tree and trying to hide behind trees to get a better look does not work. If you can see the bear, the bear can see you. If you run, you can become part of the food chain. Besides, you can not outrun the bear anyways, really! Even downhill!!! If you encounter a bear at a distance, just back away slowly, keeping that distance or more. If this does not slow the approach from the bear, continue to yell at the bear as you back up. Throw rocks, branches, and anything that you can to extend your distance between the two of you as unfriendly.

Contrary to popular opinion, bears rarely attack and in the rare case when they do, they can be beaten back by flailing both arms and fists and kicking hard at the nose of the bear, the most sensitive part of the animal...However, use all missiles (aka rocks and branches and small logs) and all weapons (meaning all weapons - which are extensions of your personal body first, such as small logs, big rocks, pans, purse, binoculars, camera on strap, little rocks, hiking sticks, etc. or real weapons such as handguns, rifles and/or shotguns; then, use your fists and shoes as a last resort), to distract and disturb the animal into running for it's life. By so doing, you may not only save your own life but you may scare the bear from attempting to approach another human being later. With black bears, do not play dead...ALWAYS, ALWAYS fight with all of your might!

If you are out and about with others and see a bear, promptly (but without running) form a closed 'group' and yell at the bear(s) and make noise with pans or whatever noise makers you have. Bears are not stupid. They can see when they are outnumbered and are not desired. Most of the time they will 'mosey' on down the road or back into the underbrush. Then, when the bear is gone or moving away from you, collectively, move away from the area and call for Animal Control.

As a reminder, do not walk your pets without a leash. If a dog sees a bear, it's first instinct is to bark and aggravate the bear, then to run back to you for safety, bringing a bear in tow, running right behind it.

If you have outside pets on fixed leads in your Seattle yard, be aware that they may put up quite a fuss when a bear is first seen, however this pet may become a meal for a hungry bear due to the shortened lead. You might want to consider bringing outside pets inside during bear problems, while bear(s) are still on the loose in your area.

For a good video with a few other good ideas on how to keep you safe:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stay safe in Seattle. Hopefully nobody gets hurt by a bear.

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