Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bears, Bears, Bears

Many inquiries have been made about the recent mauling of a teenage girl in one of Anchorage's parks. A participant in an all-night bike ride/race, she was wheeling past Campbell creek at around 1:30 a.m. when the bear chewed her up, missing vital parts of her anatomy (another reason to wear a helmet in Alaska). Fortunately, she is expected to make a full physical recovery. Emotionally, well, that could be another story.

Folks are interested in my perspective of the bear/human problem, knowing that we live steps away from the far side of the park where this all occurred. The Anchorage Daily News certainly is receiving a lot of "perspective" from readers, some angry that the bears are allowed to live anywhere in the city limits, some angry that people would even consider shooting critters that, for the most part, are just doing what they were made to do; eat, sleep, and protect themselves.

It is my belief that if we humans are going to venture into their space, no matter the location, we must be prepared to face the potential consequences, and be prepared to mitigate them. The photo above shows our family's commitment to hiking in bear country. Dog is on leash, dog wears bear bells on behalf of the family (they drive me nuts to wear). Child is close by. We are noisy.
We carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Perhaps what makes us a bit different is that we expect to run into a bear (or moose). Knowing that there are indeed bears, we avoid spots that are hot beds certain times of the year. Like now, when the fish are running in Campbell Creek. Fish=Bears=Trouble for everyone.

It would be unfortunate if we have become so arrogant that we expect even the wild creatures to get out of our way so we can play.

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