"The best thing people can do for bears is replace myths with facts." - Dr. Lynn Rogers
Two opposing myths about bear behavior have both done a huge disservice to understanding bears; that they are an extreme threat to people in any circumstance. or they are "cuddly creatures" to be approached and photographed. Neither scenario could be further from the truth. The fact is, bears are intelligent creatures and simply put, they deserve our respect.
Myth. Bears are unpredictable. Fact. Bears use body language and vocalization to show their intentions. You can learn about bear behavior if you recreate in bear country.
Myth. Bears can't run downhill. Fact. Wrong! Bears can run more than 60 kph, up hills, downhills and side slopes. That's twice as fast as we can run and over a short distance can outrun a racehorse.
Myth. Bear Bells are the best way to avoid a surprise encounter. Fact. Bells may be helpful but not the total answer. It's best to alert bears of your presence by talking loudly, singing as you hike, breaking sticks; noises that carry.
Myth. If a bear charges you, climb a tree. Fact. Well, not always. Fact, black bears are excellent climbers and can be more aggressive in trees. Grizzlies too can climb trees, perhaps not as quickly as a black bear but they can and do climb!
Myth. Bears have poor eyesight. Fact. Bears see in colour and have vision similar to humans. Their night vision is excellent and particularly tuned to detect movement.
Myth. Shooting or relocating a nuisance bear will solve the problem. Fact. Problem bears aren't born, they are created through improper handling of food and garbage. If you move the attraction for the bears, you'll remove the problem. If a problem bear is removed, and don't remove the problem, another bear will "discover" your inadvertent buffet!
Myth. People travelling in bear country are often attacked. Fact. Bear attacks are extremely rare! Although there are thousands of human-bear encounters every year, only a few result in injury. Most bears will actually retreat before you are even aware of their presence. But stay alert and know what to do. How to survive a bear attack!
More Facts and Advice.
But best of all, educate yourself and be Bear Smart! It's your life!
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