Zoo Licenced and Garda Vetted
I revisited Oregon in the good old US of A this autumn, miles and miles of forest lakes and rivers a real haven for the outdoors type artist or photographer. Many an hour was spent trekking through forests coming across the odd deer, owl or bird of prey, other wildlife was hard to spot. I was hoping to encounter a Black Bear as they are very active at this time of year, with the abundance of ripe fruit and the impending winter they are more visible near human dwellings. It is not un-common to find bears in your garden at night steeling fallen fruit from your orchard. This is an important time of year for the bear as the high calorie diet of fruit and berries gets stored as fat in the body to fuel the body during hibernation.
What I did see was loads and loads of bear crap full of partially digested fruit which smelled quite nice actually, sweet with a hint of alcohol not at all like poo. I believe it is possible to eat as a last resort if you are stuck in the woods and need to survive, I’m sure Bear Grills has tried it, though would imagine it would be full of tape worms bad bacteria and poisonous fungi. One might be better off looking for some fruit and berries instead, if they are in the poo they are on the trees and brushes.
During hibernation bears can slow down their metabolism to a quarter of its normal rate, they may wake twice daily to re adjust themselves or stand up and stretch. Amazingly it is not unknown for females to give birth to cubs and nurse them while in a state of hibernation only to wake up in spring to the pitter patter of tiny paws. It is hoped if we can isolate and use the process in which bears hibernate we can use it to help treat illnesses and in the future use the technology for long distance space flight or perhaps to help guys who go to the cinema with their partners to a chick flick ( possibilities are endless).
Bears have a large brain with excellent long term memory; great navigation skills, can see in colour, can hear twice as much as humans, have a sense of smell 100 times greater than ours and can run at 30 mph. Though they have a reputation of killing humans when they get too close to their cubs this is not true, deaths attributed to black bears can be blamed to the Grizzly Bear. Outdoor shops still sell bear mace as a precaution against possible attacks.
Here is an interesting snippet from the American association of bears.
Should you encounter a black bear.
•Stay calm - DO NOT RUN (running may elicit a chase response by the bear).
•Pick up children so they don't run or scream; restrain dog; avoid eye contact and talk in soothing voice.
•If the bear stands up, he is NOT going to attack but is curious and wants a better sniff or view.
•Back away slowly; if bear chomps jaw, lunges, or slaps ground or brush with paw, he feels threatened.
•Slowly retreat from area or make wide detour around bear; don't crowd or block bear's escape route.
Note: Bear attacks on humans are extremely rare. A person is 180 times more likely to be killed by a bee and 160,000 times more likely to die in a car accident. Most injuries from black bears occur when people try to feed, pet, or crowd them. Bears will nip or cuff bad-mannered humans, as they will bad-mannered bears. They are very strong and powerful animals; bears should always be treated with caution and respect.
Information prepared by Andrea Hess
Volunteer for THE AMERICAN BEAR ASSOCIATION