Alaska bear attack: Did NOLS students stumble on grizzly food cache? What if the main thing everyone thought they knew about a grizzly bear attack July 23 on a group of seven students from the National Outdoor Leadership School was wrong?
Up until now, it has been presumed that the attack involved the classic situation of a sow defending her cubs, though there is little evidence to support that conclusion. Only one student reported seeing what he thought was a cub.
The others reported only some rustling in the thick brush around the scene of the attack. And wildlife biologist Tom Smith, who has spent years studying and observing bears, noted last week that none of the students reporting hearing a cub or cubs bawling during an attack that -- based solely on the damage done to the bear’s teenage victims -- went on for an unusually long time.
The Talkeetna grizzly first grabbed 17-year-old Joshua Berg, of New York, and worked him over so badly that he was still in the hospital a week later. The bear cut off its attack on Berg only to chase after 17-year-old Samuel Gottsegen, who was fleeing. The bear knocked him down. It grabbed him by the skull, which is normal bear behavior, and ripped wide open the flesh on his head. Then it bit him in the chest, breaking his ribs and puncturing his lung. Gottsegen, like Berg, spent days in the hospital, but is now out. After this, the bear attacked two other teenagers.
Most of the NOLS students have now talked about the attack, and all but the still-recovering Berg have been interviewed by NOLS officials conducting an internal investigation of the incident. Berg could hold crucial information. While being treated in the field, he told Alaska Air National Guard pararescue specialist Sgt. Brandon Stuemke that he came around a bend on a brush-lined creek and saw ahead what he took to be hay bales or hay piles.
Berg was first in line among the students walking down the semi-dry creek bed. The general belief at the time of the attack was that what Berg saw was not a hay pile, but a golden or blonde-colored sow grizzly and her cub. No one harvests hay in the Alaska wild, so there would be no hay or hay piles there.
But as several Alaska wildlife biologists have since pointed out that it is possible to encounter something that looks a lot like a hay pile in the Alaska wilderness: A bear’s food cache.
If a bear is lucky enough to kill a big animal like a moose, it will eat what it can, and then cover the remains with whatever it can dig up to help protect its bounty from scavengers. In grassy areas, bears have been known to tear up circles of grass 50 to 100 feet wide. What they tear up, they pile atop the carcasses. If they tear up a lot of grass and pile it atop the carcass, the result -- once the grass dries -- starts to look at lot like a hay pile.
These sorts of hay piles are about the deadliest thing anyone can walk into in the Alaska bush. Bears will kill to defend their food caches. Similar to the Anchorage bear attack of 1995?
One of the worst bear attacks in Alaska history happened just outside of Anchorage in 1995 when well-known local runners Marcie Trent, 77, and Larry Waldron, 45, were on a hike along the McHugh Creek Trail to Rabbit Lake with Trent’s then 14-year-old grandson Art Abel. The group walked onto a moose that had been killed by a grizzly, and the bear attacked to defend its kill. Both Trent and Waldron died.
Abel, the only survivor, didn’t know exactly what happened at first. He heard his grandmother scream and then saw something running through the brush. He ran up the trail to get close to Waldron, his uncle. Waldron told Able to climb a tree for safety and wait, then Waldon went to look for his mother-in-law. It cost him his life.
Abel stayed up the tree until another hiker came along. Abel called for help. He still didn’t know what had happened. When he came down from the tree, he told the hiker he thought his grandmother had been attacked by a moose -- something that happens in Alaska with some regularity -- and that his uncle had gone to help her. The hiker, who has never been identified, then went on up the trail with Abel. They heard moans, which led them to Waldron. He was bleeding but still alive. He told them Trent had been attacked by a bear, and that when he went to help her, he was attacked.
Other hikers coming up the trail tried to rescue Waldron, but his injuries were so severe he did not survive. It was the same for Trent.
Don’t mess with a bear’s dinner
Biologist Tom Smith, a professor at the University of Utah who spent years at the Alaska Science Center conducting bear research for the U.S. Geological Survey, noted the fury with which bears will defend food caches. He, like some others, is wondering if the hay bales or hay piles Berg reported seeing could have been a food-cache and a light-colored grizzly bear atop that the cache.
Bears will sometimes nap on top of their piles just to be doubly sure their food is protected.
Encountering something like this is the Alaska wilderness equivalent of stepping on a land mine.
Some of the NOLS students involved in the July 23 attack have already come under criticism for running when they first saw the bear. Berg was the first to turn and flee, which appears to have set off a chain reaction. In general, the advice on dealing with grizzlies in Alaska is to stand your ground and make yourself as big as possible.
That advice, however, does not apply to all situations, and if the NOLS students did stumble upon a bear cache, running might not have been a bad idea. Smith and other authorities on bears noted that in that circumstance you might want to put as much distance as possible between yourself and the food the bear is trying to defend.
That’s if Berg stumbled into a food cache. But nobody can say for certain that Berg stumbled into a sow and her cubs either.
No Alaska agency investigates bear attacks
The sow and cub narrative came from the Alaska State Troopers, which never saw a sow and cubs. The agency assumed the easy explanation for an aggressive bear. Sows with cubs are notorious for rushing and flattening hikers.
Lem Butler, the Talkeetna area biologist for the Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said his staff did a fly-over of the general area after the attack but saw no bears.
Butler added that he isn’t even sure Fish and Game had good coordinates for the site of the attack.
No Alaska agency investigates bear attacks. Butler said he’d like to put a biologist on the ground in the area of this attack to find out exactly what happened, but he doesn’t have the budget for it.
Investigators would need to fly in on a helicopter, and helicopter time in Alaska is expensive. It would cost upwards of $600 an hour for a helicopter out of Palmer, where Butler’s staff is based. A flight to and from the Talkeetna Mountains, where the attack took place, plus time spent on the ground, would take several hours. Costs would easily end up over $1,000, possibly into the thousands. And there is a significant likelihood that even with boots on the ground, no one would find much.
Butler, like a lot of other biologists, said he’d like to know a whole lot more about what happened in this attack, but he probably won’t. As with others, however, he noted this sow’s ferocity seemed a little odd. Many Alaska grizzly attacks do involve defensive sows, but those bears seldom do the damage that was done to the NOLS students in the Talkeetnas.
When Clivia Feliz was attacked by a sow grizzly in Anchorage’s Far North Bicentennial Park in 2008, it knocked her down, bit her arm and her torso, and then fled with its cub.
The bear could easily have stayed and killed Feliz, but it didn’t. The story was the same when Sarah Wallmer was attacked in 2007 by a sow with a cub near the Eagle River Nature Center in Chugach State Park on the edge of Anchorage. She suffered relatively minor injuries. The bear knocked her down, bit her in the butt, and then fled. Again, it was similar in 1998 when Blaine Smith, a wilderness guide, was attacked near the Nature Center. He was flattened, but the bear fled without attacking his wife. The bear was apparently more interested in getting its cub away than beating up on people.
Bear in Talkeetna attack highly aggressive
That was not the case in the Talkeetnas. After attacking Berg and Gottsegen and inflicting serious damage, that bear didn’t stop. It chased after two other fleeing students and took down both 16-year-old Noah Allaire from Albuquerque and 18-year-old Victor Martin from the San Francisco Bay area. After flattening Allaire, the bear bit him in the head. After flattening Martin, it chomped on his leg.
Both of those teens also required medical treatment after being rescued by troopers and the Alaska National Guard. Biologist Smith, who now spends his summers on an island in a lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge surrounded by bears, said the extent of the attack on the NOLS group certainly does grab one's attention.
Smith has compiled a database on Alaska bear attacks and worked with Canadian Stephen Herrero, the well-known author of "Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance," in the development of a database for all North American bear attacks. Never, Smith said, has there been an attack on four or more people that ended with four injured.
The situation in the Talkeetnas is unique, however, given the bear might not have known it was facing a group.
From the descriptions provided by the seven teenagers involved, Smith said, this attack sounds more like a "sequential mauling” than an attack on a group of people. Nonetheless, the behavior of the bear, combined with Berg’s observations, does make one wonder, he said.
Three weeks before the attack in the Talkeetnas, a sow grizzly did kill a hiker in Yellowstone National Park, but the death of 57-year-old Californian Brian Matayoshi came quickly in the frenzy of the sow’s original rush. The bear investigated Matayoshi’s hiking companion and wife, Marilyn, but did not hurt her. The couple had seen the bear with a cub and fled.
"The couple began running, but the bear caught up with them, attacking Mr. Matayoshi,” the National Park Service reported. "The bear then went over to Mrs. Matayoshi, who had fallen to the ground nearby. The bear bit her daypack, lifting her from the ground and then dropping her. She remained still and the bear left the area."
That is more the norm for sow grizzlies. The Park Service’s warning to visitors after the Matayoshi attack was to "hike in groups of three or more people.”
Grizzlies tend to not attack groups
In a peer-reviewed study of bear attacks in British Columbia, Herrero and colleague Andrew Higgins noted that for almost three decades -- 1960 to 1997 -- more than 80 percent of the people injured by grizzlies were traveling alone or with a partner, adding that "there were no recorded injuries inflicted by a bear to groups of six or more people.”
They theorized that large groups were safer in part because they made more noise traveling through the country, thus alerting bears to both their presence and their size.
The NOLS students have all said they were making noise moving through the brush in the Talkeetnas, but it remains unclear as to whether they were close enough together to constitute a "group.” The distance between them as they hiked through dense brush might have eliminated the element of group safety.
But Smith and most other bear biologists are of the opinion that if the students had grouped up -- instead of scattering -- once the bear attack began, they might have been able to reduce the number of injuries. Smith also admits that this is a lot easier to say than to do. In the panic of the moment, he said, the instinctive reaction is to flee. It is an instinct hikers traveling with others in bear country should try to avoid. No matter the circumstances, biologists all agree, groups of people are far more intimidating to a bear than individuals.
The death of Alan Precup in the Glacier Bay National Monument in 1976 is the classic case in point.
Precup was killed and eaten by a predatory grizzly. The bear then stalked a group of four people, but retreated when they began shouting and throwing rocks at it.
None of them suffered any injuries even though they, too -- like the NOLS students -- at one point ran from the bear. It chased, but did not attack.
Contact Craig Medred at craig(at)alaskadispatch.com.
A polar bear has attacked the dogs of the Polish research station in Hornsund. One was killed, two more were injured. The bear had already spent several days around the station and attacked the dogs. Even warning shots and rubber bullets had failed to scare the bear away.
Officials trying to trap bear that killed dog in Longwood LONGWOOD -- Florida Fish and Wildlife officers plan to trap and kill a black bear terrorizing a Longwood neighborhood. The bear killed a sheltie on Woodstead Drive in the Markham Woods area Tuesday morning.
Kim Staber had just let the dog "Rocks" out when she says a bear ran up and attacked him. She was screaming, but says the bear continued to maul the dog, before she finally pulled Rocks away from the bear.
Bears are known to frequent the area.
"This bear was different, it was angry it was vicious it was not a bit scared of me and there's not a doubt in my mind if I had walked out there instead of the dog it would have come after me," she said.
Staber says the bear was feeding on garbage she had just placed in the front yard when the attack happened about 7 a.m.
Wildlife officials say she did as they've asked neighbors to do, waiting to put trash out until the morning of trash day. They also warn bear sightings will be more common the next couple months.
"They are going from their normal summer diet into their fall fattening up, where they may bebe eating 20,000 to 30,000 calories a day," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Council Biologist Tom Shupe. "So they are going to be foraging 14 to 16 hours a day, you are going to see the bears more, they are going to be out more."
It's unusual for officers to trap the bears, but they say they are worried by this bear's aggressive behavior. They hope to have the traps out Wednesday night or Thursday.
Meanwhile FWC is getting reports of a large black bear in Ormond Beach, and he appears to be injured.
Residents saw the bear sleeping on the sidewalk on Pinion Circle in the Fiesta Heights Subdivision Sunday night. Officers who responded to the bear reports caught it limping into nearby woods.
Whistles and slingshots increase the wariness of American black bears Homstol, Lori1(email@example.com), and C. St. Clair1 1 University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9 In British Columbia, bear managers kill approximately 800 black bears and 35 grizzly bears annually because of conflicts with humans. Agencies are under increasing pressure to manage non-lethally, typically using aversive conditioning (AC). We tested two novel techniques intended to increase the efficacy and practicality of AC by alternately assigning 19 black bears in conflict to one of three treatment groups: one that paired pain with sound (whistles), one with pain alone, and a control group. Whistles were used to signal pain delivery because such an association could subsequently be used to dissuade bears temporarily from attractants to prevent the food conditioning that leads to conflict. Our second innovation was to induce pain with marbles fired from sling shots, which we compared to rubber bullets fired from shotguns. Bears quickly associated whistles and pain and were as likely to run from marbles as from rubber bullets. After conditioning, treated bears were significantly more wary than control. Our results suggest that AC practicality and efficacy might be increased by exploiting a soundpain association and by using a non-registered form of projectile to increase the number of people, and hence frequency, with which bears in conflict could be treated
A fed bear is a dead bear: how this catchy phrase and management philosophy led to positive changes for bears and visitors in national parks Gunther, Kerry A. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Bear Management Office, Yellowstone Center for Resources, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 82190 Preventing bears from obtaining anthropogenic foods and garbage is the underlying foundation of bear management programs in U.S. national parks. This philosophy evolved over more than a century of trying to balance recreational activities with resource protection. During the early history of most national parks, human food and garbage were a common component of bears’ diets. Bears obtained anthropogenic foods from garbage dumps and feeding stations, hand feeding by visitors, and unsecured foods and garbage in developments. Although interacting closely with bears delighted most park visitors, large numbers of people interacting with human food-conditioned bears also led to high numbers of bear-human conflicts. During the 1930’s-60’s, there were an average of 48 bear inflicted human injuries and 138 incidents of bear-caused property damage per year inside Yellowstone National Park (YNP). Most of these conflicts were directly related to the hand feeding of bears by the public or from bears searching for unsecured human foods and garbage in developments. The proximity of garbage dumps and bear feeding stations to public use areas was also considered a contributing factor. The high number of bearhuman conflicts also resulted in many bears being removed from YNP annually. After closing the garbage dumps and feeding stations, prohibiting hand feeding, bear-proofing all food and garbage containers, and educating park visitors about the negative consequences of allowing bears to obtain human foods, bear-human conflicts decreased significantly to just 1 human injury and 12 property damages per year. Even without viewing stations and public feeding, thousands of visitors still see bears annually, building a constituency of public that support bear conservation. The national park service experience demonstrates that bear populations can be maintained in a manner that provides for the safety of bears, park visitors and visitors’ property, while still providing the public with opportunities to view bears.
Human-bear conflicts influence villagers’ attitudes but not necessarily behaviors Liu, Fang1,2 (email@example.com), W. J. McShea3 ,D. L. Garshelis4 , X. Zhu2 , D. Wang2 , L. Shao5 1 Institute of Forest Environment, Ecology, and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing, China, 100089 2 College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China, 100871 3 Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 1500 Remount Rd., Front Royal, VA, 22630 4 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Grand Rapids, MN, 55 5 Wanglang National Nature Reserve, Long’an Town, Pingwu County, Sichuan, China, 22550. Human-wildlife conflicts often cause retaliatory killing, which may be a major threat to some wildlife species. Asiatic black bears depredate crops and livestock and also attack humans. We surveyed local people to assess their attitudes and behaviors toward black bears in Sichuan Province, China. We conducted 1181 semi-structured interviews within 429 15x15-km cells across the province, asking villagers about bear occurrence, population trends, attitudes toward bears, human-bear conflicts, responses to bear damage, and bear poaching. Bears raided crops (n=174 cells), killed livestock (n=114 cells), and attacked people (n=49 cells). Reports of bear damage did not vary by ethnicity, however, more Han respondents (28.3%) than Yi (10.6%) or Tibetans (8.7%) reported willingness to retaliate bears if they suffered the loss from bears. Fifty percent and 43% of villagers held negative and neutral attitudes toward bears, respectively; attitudes were more negative among people who had previous interactions with bears or lived where bear encounters were more likely. Although killing bears was illegal, villagers in 117 cells indicated that bear poaching occurred around their villages. However, killing bears was not significantly linked to damage: indeed, killing was more common in areas without human-bear conflicts. Poachers killed bears mainly for trade of their valuable parts (gall bladder and paws, 78.5%). Tibetan people experienced bear damage and also had negative attitudes toward bears, but reported less poaching than Han or Yi people, due to their religious beliefs. We conclude that real or perceived threats of bears destroying property or causing bodily harm shaped people’s negative attitudes toward this species; however, actions against bears were mainly motivated by the economic value of bear parts rather than people’s negative attitudes. Efforts to alleviate bear damage to crops and livestock might benefit bears indirectly through improving local support for bear conservation, however, controlling poaching and reducing market demand for bear parts will be the most productive conservation measure. 98
Investigation on black bear-human conflict in Kashmir, India Singh, Usham1 (firstname.lastname@example.org), T. Sharp2, K. Satyanarayan1, G. Seshamani1 1 Wildlife SOS, D-210, Defence Colony, New Delhi-110024 2 Wildlife SOS, SWCA Environmental Consultant, 1146 East Princeton, Salt Lake City UT 84105, USA The study presents black bear-human conflict between 2001 and 2009 in Kashmir, India. 282 conflict cases were reported resulting in the death of 19 persons. The distribution of conflict across Kashmir showed that South Division of Kashmir recorded the highest cases (n=166, 58.86 %), followed by Central (n=60, 21.27 %) and North (n=56, 19.8 %). Black bear Ursus thibetanus attacked more human males (n=223, 81.98 %) as compared to females (n=59, 20.92 %). Black bear attack caused serious injury in 212 persons (75.18 %) affecting normal livelihood while 70 persons (24.82 %) had minor injuries. 230 attacks (81.5 %) occurred in the agro-ecosystem while 52 attacks (18.4 %) occurred in the forest ecosystem. Increase in conflict motivated the WSOS team to conduct abundance estimation of black bears in Kashmir. The study was conducted during 2008 and 2009. Transects were randomly laid in the three divisions, namely Central, South and North Divisions of Kashmir and monitored. The study found that South Division has highest encounter rate (1.78±0.4 evidences/km), followed by North (1.23±0.4 evidences/km) and Central (0.78±0.3 evidences/ km). The presence of black bears caused panic among locals. People usually chased bears resulting in multiple attacks on humans. A case was reported where a male black bear attacked 25 persons before being killed by the locals. Creating awareness and promoting local participation is vital in any management plan designed for conserving the black bear. The team has organized 26 community programs in the villages and 50 education programs in schools and colleges. 10 tranquilization workshops were conducted imparting training to the wildlife staffs. An extensive education awareness drive is planned to be launched across Kashmir. Joint-venture programs have been initiated which are aimed at strengthening the relations between locals and managers and developing public support in black bear-human conflict mitigation. 100
Zec, Davor1 (email@example.com), I. Franceti1, A. Bišan1, S. Relji2, M. Sindii3, Dj. Huber2 1 Department for Hunting,Ministry of Regional Development, Forestry and Water Management, Ulica grada Vukovara 269a, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia 2 Department of Biology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia 3 Department of Game Biology, Pathology and Breeding, Veterinary Faculty, University of Zagreb, Heinzelova 55, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia Croatia is in the final part of the accession process to the European Union (EU). Legislation on conservation of natural resources is an important part of the negotiation process. Surprisingly, most of the current EU member states accepted the “strictly protected” status for the brown bear, including the ones sharing the largest European brown bear populations like Carpathian (Romania), Scandinavian (Sweden), and part of Dinaric-Pindos (Slovenia). Only Finland and Estonia did put exception for bear from Annex II of the Habitats Directive. The Brown Bear Management Plan for the Republic of Croatia defines bears as game and Croatia asked for exception of bear from Habitat Directive and expects to become the first EU member with bears as a regular game species. The strong arguments to support this approach are: 1) the Croatian bear population grew with continuous hunting from less than 100 to 1000 in the past 60 years, 2) bears are well accepted by local inhabitants, 3) bear hunting provides economic profit to hunters, 4) damages caused by bears are not significant, 5) management of problem bears is straightforward (with less than 2 bears removed in an average year). In the last couple years the national yearly hunting quota was set at 100 plus up to 40 bears expected to be lost due to other reasons (traffic, problem bear removals etc.). Preliminary results of population dynamics modeling also prove hunting as an effective and favorable tool for the long term conservation. The problem is that full realization of quota has become hard to achieve, mostly due to limited market. That means that the hunting management has to be adapted continually.
That's one gutsy guard dog! Canines chase starving polar bear away from Siberian weather stationBy Richard Hartley-parkinson
Last updated at 4:21 PM on 25th November 2011
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When you live at one of the most isolated corners of the planet, a dog really is man's best friend. And when a hungry polar bear lumbered ashore to forage for food among the rubbish bins at a weather station, the dogs of Bely Island off the tip of the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia risked their lives to prove their worth. Without fear of their giant adversary, who could have killed them with a single swipe if it wanted to, they charged forward to protect the few human inhabitants of the remote spot from the powerful beast. First one, then two, and finally a third dog joined the fray, barking and growling at the polar bear. Although the polar bear did not exactly beat a hasty retreat, it came no further inland after encountering the hostile 'welcoming' committee and shuffled
According to information provided to the Marine Mammal Council by Tatiana Minenko (observer working in the “Polar Bear Patrol” project), resident of the Mys Shmidta settlement Stanislav Ettuvge was killed by a polar bear on August 19.
About 11 pm Stanislav was going to a boiler house where he was working. When the man was walking through territory of a coal depot he was attacked and killed by a 3 year old bear.
Some days earlier three young (3-4 year old) polar bears appeared in the settlement. They occupied an abandoned pigsty. One of these bears attacked the man.
Next day after the fatal accident operation on elimination of the bears was organized. As a result three bears were killed: the bear attacked the man, and a female with a yearling cub. The other two young bears, that were in the pigsty with the problem bear, escaped. www.belyemedvedi.ru/news_arch/21082011.html
"...The Tibetan brown bear was the largest source of wildlife conflict, affecting 49 percent of surveyed households, followed by grazing competition conflict which affected 36 percent of surveyed households, and snow leopard conflict which affected 24 percent of surveyed households. Type and frequency of wildlife conflict problems cut across all three surveyed socio-economic factors, residence type, size of living group, and economic status/herd size, and was primarily a function of location. A break down of incidences of human-wildlife conflict into three 5 to 6-year time periods between January 1990 and April 2006 revealed dramatic increases in conflict occurring since 2001. When compared to the 1990-1995 period, the incidence of conflict today ranged from 2.6 times higher for fox conflict to 5.5 times higher for conflict with snow leopards, while there was a 4.6 fold increase in the occurrence of bear conflict. From second-hand accounts and wildlife remains confiscated from herders, it is now believed that retaliatory killing of wildlife rivals commercial poaching as the greatest threat to the continued existence of the Chang Tang regions large fauna. Human-wildlife conflict reduction strategies and wildlife conservation education programs must be devised and implemented in order to halt the retaliatory killing of wildlife by nomadic herders in the Chang Tang..." "...In addition, many herders have been chased and attacked by Tibetan brown bears and wild yaks, and most nomads feel that bears and wild yaks pose the greatest threat to their safety while out on the steppe..."
Human-Wildlife Conflict in the Chang Tang Region of Tibet 4 1 of local hunters, with government workers and soldiers shooting bears for sport in the 1960s and 70s, and for gallbladder and bear paws that were sold in larger towns in the 1980s. However since the establishment of the Chang Tang and Seling Lake reserves in 1993, hunting by non-herders is believed to have decreased while killing of bears by herders defending their livestock and property is thought to have increased.
Three Polar Bears Killed in Russia A tragic encounter with a polar bear led to the death of a 33-year-old man in the coastal village Cape Schmidt, Russia. Authorities responded by shooting the three-year-old bear that attacked the man, along with two other polar bears—a mother and her 18-month-old cub—that had been hanging around.
Although few details are available about the incident, authorities report that a total of five polar bears had been spotted around a pig farm in the village..
Although polar bear attacks are rare, this summer has seen a spike in human-polar bear encounters, including the recent tragic incident in Svalbard, Norway, in which a teenage camper was killed and four other campers were injured.
“Although we’re uncertain of all the factors that may have led to each event, we can be 100% certain that the frequency of these sorts of events will increase as the availability of essential sea ice habitat of polar bears continues to decline in space and time," says PBI's chief scientist, Dr. Steven C. Amstrup.
Hungry bears that are forced off their seal-hunting grounds by melting ice will seek food elsewhere—and that means that more polar bears will show up in coastal villages in the Arctic, with often tragic results for both polar bears and people. PBI's Sustainability Alliance is working on plans to minimize human-polar bear encounters. www.polarbearsinternational.org/news/three-polar-bears-killed-russia
A Russian man was responsible for an attack by a female bear that hospitalized him, since he had tried to approach her cubs, officials in the Far Eastern Sakhalin province said Tuesday.
The victim, a resident of the Pacific island Kunashir, encountered the bear and her offspring on Sunday, a few kilometres away from the nearest village.
He then attempted to move towards the bears instead of backing away, news agency Interfax quoted forest ministry official Aleksander Kostin. The mother bear struck the man with her paw and bit him repeatedly.
‘The man broke the first rule of conduct for encountering a wild animal - don’t provoke it,’ Kostin said, adding that the victim’s life was not in danger.
Regional authorities did not intend to shoot the bear as it was not responsible for the attack, the official said.
Another bear, in Russia’s central Novosibirsk region, was shot dead in an ambush on Tuesday, according to news reports.
The bear had begun raiding domestic animal pens and beehives kept by residents of the village Lebedka and posed a threat to people living in the area, the regional environmental ministry said.
On Sunday a brown bear killed a pair of picnickers in Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, the most recent fatal bear-human encounter.
The man and his daughter had been resting on a river bank with friends in a remote region when the animal attacked, according to news reports.
Russia is home to the world’s largest population of brown bears, with the total estimated at 120,000 animals. www.yuzno.com/news/1361