Bears not attracted to menstruating women Sept 12, 2012 8:33:54 GMT -9
Post by sarus on Sept 12, 2012 8:33:54 GMT -9
© Eric Wedum
Bears not attracted to menstruating women
There is no evidence of a link between bear attacks and menstruation, a report explains
Despite campfire fears dating back to at least 1967, black bears and grizzly bears
are not attracted to the odors of menstruation, according to a recent Yellowstone
National Park report.
Polar bears may be interested in the smell of menstrual blood, the report found,
but bears that roam in North America are not. Food is a much more important
temptation for bears, according to the findings.
The idea that bears might preferentially attack menstruating women is not new.
In 1967, a night of infamous grizzly bear attacks in Glacier National Park in Montana
left two women dead. One woman was having her period, and the other was carrying
The attacks led to speculation that the women's menstrual odors might have
"triggered" the attacks. The Park Service and other agencies even began warning
women that bears might be attracted to the smell of menstrual blood, despite no
scientific evidence to back up those warnings.
Since 1992, the Forest Services' Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee has tried to
debunk this myth, but it has been difficult to dislodge. The new Yellowstone report,
released in February, draws on a series of old studies to set the record straight.
In one of these studies, conducted in 1991, researches exposed black bears, the
most common kind of bear in the United States, to used tampons and to four
menstruating women. They found no interest among any of the bears to the scents.
Nor have researchers found any examples of black bears attacking menstruating women.
Nor are grizzly bears interested in women having their periods. A 1985 analysis of
hundreds of grizzly bear attacks on humans found no evidence linking any of the
attacks to menstruation — including the infamous "Night of the Grizzlies" attacks
in Glacier. The two bears involved in those attacks were what biologists called "food conditioned," according to "Backcountry Bear Basics: The Definitive Guide to Avoiding
Unpleasant Encounters" (Mountaineers Books, 2006) by Dave Smith. These bears
were used to eating garbage and had begun to associate humans with food.
The one exception to bears' disinterest in menstrual blood was the polar bear, the
Yellowstone report finds. A 1983 study found that four captive polar bears exposed
to a series of scents responded strongly only to seal smells and used tampons.
But as Smith points out in his book, the tests were limited to four bears and only
12 encounters with live, menstruating women. The bears were also much less interested
in menstrual blood than any sort of food scent, eating used tampons half of the time they smelled them compared with 100 percent of the time for seafood and 92 percent of the
time for seal oil. Even alcohol was more palatable to the polar bears than used tampons.
They guzzled down beer 66 percent of the time. (They also ate unused tampons 13
percent of the time.)
At Yellowstone Park, the report concludes, there is no evidence of a link between bear
attacks and menstruation. Nevertheless, the Park Service recommends using tampons
instead of external pads and unscented menstrual products to keep potentially appealing
SOURCE: Bears not attracted to menstruating women