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Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Grizzly Bear is possibly one of the most “notorious” and well-known bears today.

A Couple Of Grizzly Bears: Grizzly Bear Profile

A Couple Of Grizzly Bears. They Have A Reputation For Being Dangerous But Conflicts Can Be Avoided With Some Precautions.

Grizzly Bear is the common name for a very well-known brown bear subspecies native to North America, parts of Europe and Asia. This bear is one of the largest in the family, coming close behind the Polar Bear and the Kodiak Bear.

It’s known in scientific circles as the North American brown bear or by its scientific name Ursus Arctos Horribilis.

The term “grizzly” could be interpreted as referring to two things: “Grizzled” for its golden/gray tipped hair or “grisly” for its perceived fearsome disposition. Individual bears vary in color from

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The Cherokee Bears of North Carolina live in deplorable conditions but you can help them.

One Of The Cherokee Bears

One Of The Cherokee Bears In Its Concrete Pit (Photo: PETA)

It’s a common fact that in our modern day world, more than 3000 animal species are considered endangered. Many more are already extinct.

As human activity becomes more and more intense, our environment and its inhabitants come face to face with new challenges that are difficult to handle. Unfortunately, animals keep getting the short end of the stick. They are quite often used as ‘tools’ for profit, with large species like

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Each one of these Gifts for Bear Lovers is a constant reminder of how awesome these creatures are.

Gifts for Bear Lovers

Getting gifts from those around us is a great feeling especially when you already have an idea of their taste. But it can be tricky.

For bear lovers, and animal lovers in general, there is a wide range of bear products on the market to choose from. So how do you differentiate the good from a waste of money?

Well, you’ve come to the right place then.

Be it any species you may like brown bears, black bears, or Polar Bears, you will find

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There are plans underway to reintroduce British Bears, and wolves, but people are worried. Can this work in modern day Britain?

Eurasian Brown Bear at the Whipsnade Zoo

Eurasian Brown Bear at the Whipsnade Zoo (Photo: © Francis C. Franklin / Wikimedia Commons cc by-sa 3.0

It’s hard to believe but bears once roamed in Britain. The original British bears were Eurasian brown bears: a subspecies of the Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos Arctos).

These animals became extinct in Britain from around the 8th century and survived in Scotland till the 10th century. Of late there have been plans to reintroduce the brown bear to Britain’s countryside.

What Happened To The Original British Bears?

They became extinct due to excessive and uncontrolled hunting for their meat and fur. It is believed that they became extinct before the time of the Anglo-Saxon influx and they were the first large indigenous predators to be eliminated.

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Though the words Habituated and Food Conditioned Bears are used interchangeably, there’s actually a lot of difference between them.

A Bear Sitting In A Stream: Food conditioned bears

A Bear Sitting In A Shallow Stream. Bears Have Fantastic Memories And They Quickly Learn How To Go After Human Food.

If you live anywhere bears or have a lot to do with them, you would have come across the terms Habituated Bears and Food Conditioned Bears a number of times.

Though these two words mean very different things, people use them interchangeably. They’ll say things like “habituated bears are dangerous” or “food conditioned bears are dangerous.” Or you may even hear “all food conditioned AND habituated bears are dangerous.”

The fact is not all the above statements are true. So, which one is true and which ones aren’t?

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Food Conditioned Vs Habituated Bears: Which One Is As Dangerous As We Think?

 

What’s the real danger ..

 

META:

 

Feature piX

 

If you live anywhere bears or have a lot to do with them, you would have come across the terms “habituated” and “food conditioned” a number of times.

 

Though these two words mean very different things, people use them interchangeably. They’ll say things like “habituated bears are dangerous” or “food conditioned bears are dangerous.” Or you may even hear “ all food conditioned AND habituated bears are dangerous.”

 

The fact is not all the above statements are true. So, which one is true and which ones aren’t? Read on to find out.

 

What is a “food conditioned” bear?

An animal is described as food conditioned when it has been trained or has learned on its own that it will get food it if it performs certain actions.

 

It actually began as a training technique for pets and other animals. The animal gets a food reward if it performs a specific action.

 

This may sound all good and okay but it’s actually very dangerous for big creatures, like bears, and the humans that encounter such bears. Bears typically become food conditioned when people leave their garbage (leftover food) out carelessly in bear territory.

 

Remember that bears have an extremely keen sense of smell. In fact, they can even smell food that is canned! Now, when these animals raid a garbage can or dumpsite, eat the leftovers and develop a “taste” for human food it’s almost always a recipe for disaster.

 

When this happens, the bear can hardly go back to its natural diet and will do almost anything to get more “tasty” human cooked food. Consequently, such a bear is called “food conditioned.” Because the animal has now learnt to associate humans, their cars, campsites, etc with food it will keep coming back for more. The case of the Yosemite Black Bears comes to mind here.

 

Just tasting cooked food once is enough to start a bear on the food conditioned path. In some cases, the bears resort to force or even attacking people to get at their food.

 

BLOCK QUOTE: Food conditioning changes the natural hunting and eating habits of affected bears.

 

What is a “habituated” bear?

In areas where human dwellings overlap bear habitat, the bears get to see and observe people quite frequently. Sometimes even daily.

 

As a result, seeing humans does not startle them. Rather, they largely ignore the people around them and just continue what whatever they are doing. Such bears are referred to as “habituated.”

 

Usually, they’ve had a peaceful relationship with the humans around them so they have no reason to fear or attack them.

 

What Are the Implications Of A Food Conditioned Bear Vs A Habituated Bear?

Although these are two very different conditions, people and even experts still use the terms wrongly to date. This has tendency to create confusion and misunderstanding about the implications of both.

 

A Food Conditioned Bear Will:

 

  • Seek out the company of people to get at their food.
  • Raid house, campsites, trash cans, cars (even damage them), with the hope of getting food.
  • Find it difficult to go back to hunting for food naturally.
  • Hardly tolerate people once it can’t get their food.
  • Become a pest. It will go after even pet food (dog food) in some cases.
  • Become increasingly aggressive in its hunt for food.
  • Constitute a considerable danger to people in the vicinity.
  • Likely end up getting shot and killed!

 

A Habituated Bear Will:

  • Trust having people around it.
  • Rarely approach people on its own.
  • Not fear humans and will have very little reason to attack IF we respect it’s space. The grizzly bears at McNeil River, Alsaka, are a typical example of habituated bears that get along with people peacefully. They even sleep and eat with tourists moving around all around them.

 

Block QUOTE: However, note that a habituated bear in some rare cases can also be food conditioned making it also dangerous to human beings.

 

It All Boils Down To How We Treat Them

Reading so far, you can easily see that being food conditioned is a terrible state for a bear indeed. Unfortunately, habituated bears too easily become food conditioned!

 

There’s a very thin line between the two and human carelessness causes the problem most times. Even when a bear is habituated and generally “minding its business,” people will approach it and even try to touch or pet it. Especially younger bears. Humans will often tempt very young bears to come closer by dangling food in front of them.

 

This is extremely dangerous.

 

The bear will grow up with a hunger for human food and it frequently turns disaterous for both bears and humans. Very often these bears will attack people and have to be hunted down and shot.

 

On the other hand, habituated bears can and do get along with people but humans have to learn to be responsible around the bears too. Habituation, if used responsibly, is an ideal tool for studying bears in their natural habitat.

 

 

 

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References:

 

https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/food-conditioned-black-bear-public-safety.htm

 

 

http://juneauempire.com/stories/101101/Out_bears.shtml#.Wbpg7_OGOot

 

 

http://wherethebearwalks.blogspot.com.ng/2010/02/habituation-vs-food-conditioning.html

 

 

Photo Credits:

 

www.depositphotos.com

Churchill is like no other place on Earth. It’s called the Polar Bear Capital Of The World for a reason.

Polar Bear Statue in Churchill: Polar Bear Capital Of The World

A Polar Bear Statue in Churchill, Manitoba (Author: Hey Renee/Wikimedia Commons, PD)

Under normal circumstances Churchill, Manitoba should be a quiet little town with nothing sensational going on. For most of the year, life goes on pretty quietly and there are very few strangers in town. In fact, you can’t even get there by road!

However, come September then begins an annual event that lasts for some months and has placed this town solidly on the map: it’s the gathering of the Polar Bears.

The bears begin to swim ashore from mid-July, and their numbers increase dramatically by

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Yosemite Bears are becoming smarter due to the past mistakes of humans in the park.

American Black bear in Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Bears

An American Black Bear, Yosemite National Park, USA.

Since Yosemite National Park first opened in 1890, people have been fascinated with the Black Bears that roam the land scavenging for food.

At first, the bears could easily find food in the trash cans and dumpsters the park used. In 1923, the park officials realized people were highly interested in observing these bears and they began intentionally leaving trash in certain areas of the park.

Once these “feeding areas” opened, people felt more comfortable with trying to feed the bears themselves. No one realized the problem this would cause.

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