Humans are encroaching on grizzly territory. Can we live together?
The bears have returned from the brink of extinction, and now conservationists must persuade people to respect them
, is known to graze upon the clover on the roadside at Togwotee Pass, not far from Yellowstone, causing huge traffic jams of gawking onlookers. (Wildlife officials recently attempted to move Felicia on from public viewing by “hazing” her with exploding cartridge shells and bean bag shots.)
Still, the hulking presence of grizzlies can be unnerving to newcomers. “I get calls all the time from people freaked out that they’ve seen a bear. Especially since Covid we’ve seen all these wealthy baby boomers decide to retire and buy up property here,” said Jamie Jonkel, a bear management specialist at Montana Fish,
Wildlifeand Parks. “We are developing on prime bear habitat and a lot of newer people just aren’t used to being around bears, don’t do commonsense things. A lot of them are just clueless.”The concept of coexistence has taken root with some established Montanans, however, with a growing number prepared to erect electric fences and remove dead animals to avoid having to resort to deadly retaliation. headtopics.com
On the outskirts of Ovando, in the lush Blackfoot valley, a coalition of ranchers has taken to putting up barriers and switching practices to maintain a distance between the bears and their livestock.“The normal way of ranching changed in a hurry because all of a sudden you had these critters with big teeth,” says Jim Stone, a rancher whochairs
Blackfoot Challenge, a nonpolitical group that aims to conserve the watershed. “You have to do something to keep those rascals out.”Stone has installed four miles of electric fence to keep out grizzlies, and his son has welded a metal electrified plate beside the front gate for the same purpose. Any cow carcasses are swiftly transported to a local fenced facility that composts them. Some of Stone’s neighbors still dislike bears but the arrangement has ensured a semblance of harmony. “We are trying to think bigger, to try to eliminate that human conflict element,” he says.
A clutch of organizations are now finding plenty of work in educating the public on how to behave when living near or visiting bear country. “We really want to get ahead of the conflicts,” says Kim Johnston, the former Montana state official who is now a field project manager for
People and Carnivores, a Montana human-bear conflict reduction organization.Johnston studies communities to see what would work best – electric fencing, perhaps, or guard dogs to protect livestock – and runs courses on how to use bear spray.“Some people think they need to spray it around their campsite, but it’s not a repellant,” says Johnston as she demonstrated how to flick the safety cap off the canister and spray an imaginary grizzly. “If you’re hiking along and see that bear you want to stop, remain calm and have your bear spray ready.” headtopics.com
Some groups are looking for ways to coexist with bears, and promoting nonlethal methods to ‘keep those rascals out”.Photograph: Kara Capaldo/Getty Images/iStockphotoOn a crisp September morning, Johnston loaded two bear-proof garbage bins to take to a campsite in Virginia City, a town formed from a 1863 gold rush located 85 miles northwest of Yellowstone. The town has retained such a distinct wild est aura that tourists can be entertained by shootout reenactments.
Black bears have long been so common that they once walked the main street and nosed through bins, but the recent sight of a more formidable grizzly a mile from town prompted officials to install sturdier waste disposal. Residents were asked to cut down on anything that would lure an itinerant bear. “It really stirred people up”,” says Johnston of the grizzly sighting.
The new bins contain a cylinder which you must reach into to release a switch that opens the top, a device that has stymied grizzlies to the extent they have been videoed jumping up and down on the receptacles in a hungry rage.A nearby campsite, the Rambling Moose, sits beside woodland at the top of a plunging valley. The owners see themselves as working in the bears’ back yard, rather than the other way around.
“They were here first, let’s be honest,” says owner Kim Jorczyk. “You take precautions, you take protective measures and you respect the wildlife.” She believes the onus should be on people’s behavior in the wild, recalling how one camp guest was chased under a cedar tree by an irate moose. “The idiot got too close to try to take a photo,” she says. headtopics.com
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Until the bears get hungry Maybe there are too many people. I don’t think so….humans can’t behave well and respect the laws of the nature No. Yes you can live with grizzlys. Until lunch... GRAPHIC CONTENT 🚨🚨 Lori was rescued on the road with a large infected wound in Quito She is in a critical condition and in desperate need of surgery PLEASE DONATE TO HELP LORI🙏🟣
No, to them your just food. They’ll eat you. So I understand what this is actually about but all I can imagine from the title is a sitcom where a human and a grizzly are unlikely roommates in the city, like Larry and Balki. No, we should leave them alone. All my achievements started with a determination to try, I took a bold decision with Lisakendriick which impact so much on my financial status.
yes please, i volunteer to be in charge of scratching their heads for them and rubbing their bellies 🥰
Mum, 55, and daughter, 32, both die of Covid after refusing to get the jabMs Forde’s dad has said he will be ‘haunted for the rest of his life’ over his daughter not getting vaccinated. The horror stories of death and misery *because* of lockdown do not get this kind of coverage. Propaganda AGAIN. Nice work 👏
I was camped on my own up an old logging/mining road in the Yukon. I was woken by a bear sniffing around outside my tent - black or brown - I didn't look but i sat in the tent for the rest of the night with bear spray and an enormous knife Yqadri1 No. It's very sad that our greed for mega housing and constantly building on their land, has destroyed their natural habitat. These animals have no place to live nor roam and treating them like humans is inhumane, as they become targets and surviving is becoming more difficult.
I think I know the answer to this thanks Not really I think that’s been happening for a long time, Having watched The Revenant I’m going to say no…
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