Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fatal Bear Attacks

Since May is Bear Danger Awareness Month, the Bear offers another Bear safety video for your enjoyment. He's run this one before, but it doesn't get old, and perhaps you haven't caught it. But first, some real facts on Bear attacks.

Humans are a far greater danger to Bears than Bears are to humans. In eastern states alone during the dozen years or so before one 2013 article was written, 100,103 Bears were legally killed in their own homes.

Grizzly Man and Girlfriend
You're either asking for it, or extremely unlucky for a Bear to attack you. Only a couple of people a year are killed by Bears in the U.S. Fifteen per year are killed by man's best friend, the dog. Keep in mind also that some of these attacks are almost "suicide by Bear," where people deliberately enter the habitat of Bear prisoners in zoos. Many others involve human pride or foolishness.

"Grizzly Man" Timothy Treadwell famously thought he had Bears all figured out, and even felt he had been accepted by them. In 2003 he took his girlfriend Amie Huguenard to Katmai National Park in Alaska. Amie was scared of Bears. (As she should have been.) They pitched their tent at the intersection of known Bear trails. Sometime during one night, a Bear visited the camp. Treadwell left the tent, presumably to talk the Bear away. Amie turned on a video camera, although only audio was recorded, from a mic worn by Treadwell. For six, horrifying, recorded minutes, the Bear savagely mauled Treadwell, while Amie bravely attacked it with nothing but a frying pan. (Anyone whose morbid curiosity may be piqued should know that it is extremely doubtful any of the purported recordings on the internet are real.)

The encounter did not end well for any of the parties involved.

Bears -- at least the non-sentient kind -- are not your friends. They have instinctive reasons for attacking based on all sorts of triggers and behaviors no human can fully comprehend. Sometimes they just have bad days.

Many attacks are made by captive Bears, either kept as pets or performers. Bears are unpredictable, but owners are lulled into a false sense of security, and lose respect for the most dangerous animal on the continent. One man who had his pet Bear's teeth and claws removed was still crushed to death.

The Bear has no comment.

As readers of this ephemeris know, there is no such thing as a safe Bear. Its author, however, has long limited his attacks on humans to biting satire and vicious broadsides.

On a lighter note, if you follow the simple tips provided by Park Ranger Gloria Newsom in this video, you should have nothing to worry about.


  1. I´ll still come here and read. From a distance.

    1. Binoculars are good Bear-watching accessories.

  2. We see bears a lot where I live. One bounded across a mountain road at night when I was on my way to work and I almost hit it. Another came into our garage to eat of our garbage can. No attacks though. Two raccoons, however, growled and ran toward me as I was getting in my car. That was freaky. Now raccoons scare me more than bears.

    Seattle Kim

    1. lol -- do we have a raccoon here? Possums are scarier, because they're gross and hiss. Don't interfere with a Bear eating your garbage, seriously. It's a shame when bears do that, just sad.

  3. "Grizzly Man" is quite the story of modern hubris and the dangers of pantheism.

    1. Werner Herzog did a documentary about Treadwell called Grizzly Man. The truly amazing thing is that the Bears put up with his crap as long as they did. (The Bear needs to take a trip to Alaska and find out what was going through their minds.) This Bear is just at a loss. But that kind of foolishness is not good for either man nor Bear. The really sad part is that he dragged his girlfriend into danger.

      Bears, unlike other alpha predators, by a trick of nature, human culture and psychology, look friendly. The Bear could not begin to count the number of women and children who have run up to the Bear and hugged him, because he's just so adorbs. He has never understood how his ursine magnetism outweighs 850 lbs of muscle, fearsome jaws and ripping claws.

      And forget the Bear. The women have to deal with former driver, bodyguard and factotum, the Bear's mate, Red Death. Think about it: she was a Bear's bodyguard. The Bear might make a cutting remark, but when Red Death cuts, you bleed.

  4. The foolish man mentioned in this article was a student at Bradley University, in Peoria, Il., where I live. He obviously didn't learn anything about bears while he was enrolled there. From what I read about the man, he became anti-social because of failures in his life. That was the overriding reason he went to live in the wilderness with bears. His losing contact with his fellow men, and believing he was a companion to dangerous, wild animals, is what got him killed.


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