Bears, bears, everywhere. It seems like I cant pick up the paper anymore without reading about bears. Almost everyone likes to read about the bruins, but it also raises some questions. Emphasizing the no stoppage area in the park is a beneficial public service, but where did the pictures of the park grizzlies come from? Isnt it a bit hypocritical to tell people not to stop, but if someone does break the rules and happens to get a good picture, send it to the paper?
It seems like we have a dilemma. Bears and dilemmas seem to go together like green eggs and ham. Imagine the family that has traveled halfway around the world hoping to see a Canadian bear in the wild. They drive into the park, and all of a sudden: Bear! Stop, Dad! Its a bear. Do we really expect them not to slam on the brakes? Ive got hundreds of bear pictures and I always want to stop!
The restrictions are put in place primarily to protect the public, especially those with ursine myopia, which causes common sense to fly out the window. Surprisingly, many of the resulting injuries come from passing motorists, not the animal. What might happen if they get too close to the bruin should go without saying.
And what if people do get close enough to actually feed a bear? Its sad, but once fed, soon dead. Bears are smart eating machines. They are constantly searching for easily obtained, high energy foods. Our snack foods are ideal, especially french fries. Unfortunately, bears often want the hamburger, too. Somebody gets nipped and the bear is put down (that means killed). And the person who broke the rules gets maybe a slap on the wrist.
Living with bears is mainly a matter of using common sense. The suggestions that have been made in the paper are excellent, but they have been repeated a thousand times and some people still dont get it. If you are really keen on protecting our hairy neighbors do some more reading even though you cant believe everything in print. For instance, the idea that bears are territorial was mentioned twice in last weeks paper. The territory of any animal is an area that is usually marked and vigorously defended. Bears have home ranges which may be as large as 500 square miles. How could even the biggest baddest grizzly ever hope to defend such a huge area? Impossible.