Thursday, May 12, 2011

Black Bears Predatory? No Kidding.

From the Calgary Herald:  "North Americans killed by black bears over the last century overwhelmingly encountered a predatory male hunting for food rather than a female protecting her cubs, according to a new study from the University of Calgary.  The common belief that surprising a mother bear is the most dangerous encounter with bruins doesn’t hold true for black bears, according to professor emeritus Stephen Herrero, an expert in bear behaviour ... Herrero and his team analyzed the deaths of 63 people in 59 North American black bear incidents dating to 1900 - most of which occurred since 1960.  They determined that 88% of such cases involved a black bear exhibiting predatory behaviour, and 92% of those predatory black bears were males.  The study also found black bears that had attacked people once were more likely to attack again, larger parties of people were less likely to be charged, and available food and garbage may increase the likelihood of a serious strike ... Black bear males, Herrero said, are significantly larger than the females.  They will silently stalk prey and are able to subdue a human twice their size.  “Then they make a run at a person without ever making any noise,” he said ... He said there’s 900,000 black bears in North America, but only about 60,000 grizzlies. Grizzly bears have still killed twice as many people.As I've said before in this space, we don't need bears.  Switzerland used to be a wonderful place to visit because all the predators had been killed off and it was safe to graze your cattle - or go for a hike - in the high alpine meadows.  At least it was safe, now they're re-introducing wolves back into the Alps in an attempt to kill their tourism and livestock industries.  When will all this silly protection of wild predators end?