October 22, 2007
This may be splitting bears ” I mean hairs ” but regarding the two recent incidents in which people surprised bears in their homes and outbuildings only to get bloodied as a result: Do the unfortunate swipes they received from those bears truly qualify as the ATTACKS that both Aspen newspapers so boldly used to puff up their headlines?
In all truth, the bears were surprised doing what comes naturally to them ” especially at this time of year ” and entered areas containing food that were left accessible to them in one way or another. When surprised/confronted they, then, each reacted in a way that should be more accurately described as a natural defensive action ” not an attack.
Bears follow their noses and stomachs and get into food, not all that much unlike a dog would, if given a chance. To describe these two recent incidents as attacks only vilifies these two bears, and, by association, all others. And, in fact, actually resulted in the killing of the Old Snowmass bear and a death sentence for the Castle Ridge bear.
As I’ve learned from discussions with Kevin Wright of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, who personally answered a seemingly endless string of calls over the course of this past summer and fall, bears are clearly “unwilling to use their strength against humans.” They are not aggressors as much as they are survivalists.
So, with this in mind, is sensationalism (and accessible food) really going to help with their survival or speed up their demise?
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