Toledo Talk

Bear, cubs to be killed

This story has been on the national news broadcasts in the last 24 hrs. Too bad that people died in the bear attack. But it was in a remote area considered "bear country". and now the bear and her cubs will be put down as a result of the attack. Wild habitat is shrinking. Not many places for them to be other than in nature areas. People should not be allowed in those areas, in my opinion.

created by bikerdude on Jul 30, 2010 at 05:08:31 am     News     Comments: 16

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Now they are saying the mother bear will be put down and an autopsy will be done to study her eating habits, and see if there is a reason she attacked. The cubs will be relocated to a zoo somewhere.

posted by lfrost2125 on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:27:29 am     #  

"We don't know if they had any participation in any of the attacks, but what they're doing at that age is all a learning process and now these cubs have witnessed and learned that this is acceptable behavior and it is not," said Jones about the cubs. "They were involved in a human fatality and two other attacks and that's not acceptable."

Are you serious?!?! Did humans send out a memo to all momma bears that they should be educating their cubs about not killing humans?!?! They are BEARS... predators! Human... deer... whatever. People are idiots.

posted by Deho on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:52:50 am     #  

It's a sad tale all around. The sow attacked because she had been habituated to humans. So blame the humans, not those involved in this tragic incident, but others whose actions altered the way this sow viewed humans. Bear attacks like this never come out of the blue. Maybe they trapped and killed the wrong bear after an eerily similar attack at Soda Butte back in 2008? Was this bear that bear?

posted by bam2 on Jul 30, 2010 at 12:12:41 pm     #  

Wild animals doing wild animals things, I don't see the uproar over the bear attack. Go camping in the deep woods and this is the risk you run. If you don't want to be attached by wild animals then camp at Bass Pro Shop.

We shouldn't punish bears for being bears.

posted by dbw8906 on Jul 30, 2010 at 12:32:13 pm     #  

The campground, where this took place, is on the edge of a small town (and close to a second small town. Grizzly and black bear are routinely sited in people's backyards in this area. A photographer that I have met, that lives in this area, had a moose calf taken down in his front yard, by a grizzly. Highway 212 goes through this area and town, it's a human populated area with much wildlife. It's an area where there are people living there, many people passing through the area on their way into the NE entrance to Yellowstone, many people recreating in the campgrounds, people using the myriad of hiking trails, people fishing in the streams, people using their ATV's on the trails in the Gallatin National Forest, where this happened, people vacationing in owned or rented cabins, people use this area as a base to backpack into the surrounding wilderness.

This particular area is a beautiful place, a wild place, but not a preserve or an untouched place. Bears that pass through or live in this area, know that humans are all around, and vice versa.

Having just recently been in Cooke City, the town where this tragedy happened on the outskirts, last week, for my seventh visit to that area, I can say it really doesn't make much sense to de-populate and remove a whole town, population and the businesses that have been there for the last century because of the wildlife that lives in the vicinity. The people that live there, do not live in fear, they are aware of their surroundings, take precautions to not make their places an attractive nuisance to the wildlife, practice smart behavior when hiking and recreating on the surrounding trails.

Having said all of that, my speculation on this grizzly sow and her 3 cubs and what caused this tragedy to happen, in my opinion is she was food habituated by humans. Somewhere along the line, maybe not in that instance or on that day, but at sometime this bear was fed by humans (Vacationers staying in a nearby cabin, or campers seeing this bear family on the outskirts of the campground or along a trail... and they wanted to keep seeing the cubs and the mom, so they threw a sandwich toward it or a candy bar... "Oh look, they are so cute... they are walking away, throw that sandwich toward it and see if it will stay a little longer!") or this bear and family had come across discarded food in a campground setting (I've witnessed this myself, idiots in bear country, vacating their camp and leaving discarded packages of junk food, leftover food thrown into the fire-pit, all possible attractions to any nearby wildlife, including bears) and finding that food, started to associate campgrounds/human populated areas with an easy meal. Bears are very opportunistic and once they find an easy meal, they will revisit an area hoping/expecting to find another easy meal. Once that bear has become habituated to come into areas where people are, of course the potential for problems and confrontations skyrockets.

Despite what the media portrays, bears in this area are not lurking behind bushes, waiting to pounce on any stray hiker or camper. Bears there, as just about anywhere, for the most part, want no business with humans. Just stay out of their personal space and leave them unmolested and they will go about their business of foraging and doing their thing and no harm happens. Bear attacks do happen, although they are very rare. Most are from approaching too closely, either by stalking one for a photograph or a closer look, or by accidentally surprising one by not making noise and making your presence known before you are too close, or encroaching on a bears food. The predatory attacks, like this one, are almost always from people either not keeping food or other attractants put away properly or the bear being habituated to humans and their food in prior instances.

A very sad thing that this man was killed. This really is a very rare thing to happen. If my speculations are correct about the causes, I'd really like to see much harsher and stiffer penalties put on anyone that does anything to habituate a wild bear. You intentionally feed a bear?... here, a $10,000 fine and mandatory 30 days in jail. Let that word get out a bit and I would think more people would think about their actions instead of being thoughtless and causing problems for the wildlife and possibly for other humans that might be in the area after them.

posted by GreenGene on Jul 30, 2010 at 12:39:04 pm     #  

I, personally, hate that this bear (if it is the culprit) will be put down. I don't want any bears to be put down. But it is a necessity. This is NOT normal behavior. A bear that has no fear of humans, that comes purposefully into the midst of humans, and then goes the next step and becomes a predator of humans, this is not normal behavior. Normal behavior is for a bear to avoid humans, maybe be in a vicinity, but human avoidance is normal. This bear's behavior has been altered, and like I said, it is probably from being purposefully fed (and thus associating humans with a food reward) or from an experience of finding that this campground is a good source for discarded food, in the past.

The saying, "A fed bear, is a dead bear." is what this is all about. Once the behavior is altered by a food reward, fear of humans is lessened, close contact happens as the bear looks for more food reward, conflicts happen when their is too close of contact, the bear is killed. Many times this happens, the bear starts approaching people or ransacking empty tents or cars and the bear is relocated to a more sparse-populated area or collared and watched and if it continues meandering too close to people, it is killed. Unfortunately, in this case, the extreme happened and people were injured and a man killed.

posted by GreenGene on Jul 30, 2010 at 12:53:28 pm     #  

This conversation reminds me of a line from an old Dead Kennedys song, "Winnebago Warrior":

Littered campgrounds, folding chairs
Feed Doritos to the bears

posted by historymike on Jul 30, 2010 at 01:49:30 pm     #  

I haven't read the story but read the comments here. Could it simply be that she (momma bear) was doing what mother bears do and protecting her young?

The overwhelming desire I have to NOT come in contact with wildlife that can do me great bodily harm is exactly why I don't go hiking or camping in areas known to be inhabited by said wildlife.

Seems to me like a sensible rule to follow.

posted by Foodie on Jul 30, 2010 at 01:55:43 pm     #  

The bear was doing what bears do. The bear is an omnivore. Anything smaller than the bear that doesn't put up too much of a fight is a potential food source.

The people involved here are so incredibly stupid that the whole planet would be marginally better off if each and every one of them made the transition into bear spoor. Think. I know it's painful, but try thinking for a change. If you are in bear country, doesn't it make sense to carry a weapon capable of dropping a bear? That way, if the bear attacks for whatever reason, you have a brand new bearskin rug, a years worth of bear meat and are left with a full complement of body parts. Doesn't that sound just a little better than being eaten by a bear?

This whole thing is dumb. Next thing is the government will provide the bear with a trial and a public defender.

posted by madjack on Jul 30, 2010 at 03:19:32 pm     #  

"The cubs will be relocated to a zoo somewhere."

That's good news. To put the cubs down is absurd. I wonder where these "nature" experts get their training. Still sad about the mother bear. I agree with Greengene about how bears become dangerous to humans once they get fed. There should be stiff penalties for feeding bears. But I also worry about their natural food source shrinking along with their habitat.

posted by bikerdude on Jul 30, 2010 at 04:48:45 pm     #  

The sow has been put down, DNA tests were confirmed this afternoon. Zoo Montana in Billings has requested the yearlings. No word yet on that being possible as the yearlings were likely part of and not merely bystanders to the action. Investigation continues, autopsy results might not be widely shared. Based on comments from past NPS rangers I wouldn't be too surprised if the sow showed evidence of past gunshot wounds - shooting a bear with small cal is not gonna "teach" a bear to stay away (reminder of sarge?), sure might teach it to be surly though.

Having lived and worked in Yellowstone, I'll just leave it by saying we can do better. and so can the east side (cooke, sunlight basin and thorofare) outfitters, and those who pay 'em to take a trophy and lazily leave the rest for the bears and then wonder why the bears come calling at the sound of rifle shot...

posted by bam2 on Jul 30, 2010 at 09:39:22 pm     #  

"Zoo Montana in Billings has requested the yearlings. No word yet on that being possible as the yearlings were likely part of and not merely bystanders to the action."

That reasoning is pretty ridiculous. To say these cubs now pose a danger makes these experts look like morons. If the zoo is interested, then hand them over.

posted by bikerdude on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:13:16 pm     #  

Good call on the DK lyrics, Mike.

This is absolutely idiotic. Keep moving closer to the bears and then get upset and treat them as though they're human criminals for doing what they do.

I really think the world needs more bears and fewer greedy humans.

posted by weasel on Jul 31, 2010 at 02:49:49 pm     #  

"Keep moving closer to the bears and then get upset and treat them as though they're human criminals for doing what they do.I really think the world needs more bears and fewer greedy humans."

I couldn't agree more. News reports said that the campers were in an area that is heavily populated by bears. Why are humans allowed to be in that area in the first place? They can go anywhere they want, but bears and other wildlife are restricted, which humans should respect. A sad situation with the bear and her cubs. The news also stated that the cubs are on their way to a zoo where they will live out their lives.

posted by gemini on Jul 31, 2010 at 09:19:59 pm     #  

The mother put down and the cubs caged for life. What a great solution. Now you can pay money to go see young bears grow up caged in a cage a minor fraction of what they are used to. Maybe they'll get a paper mache ball for easter to stimulate them. Or better yet, a trainer will hit them with a training device so they'll learn how to "act" for the zoo keepers.
Just put them down too. They'll be better off in the long run.

posted by hockeyfan on Jul 31, 2010 at 09:24:29 pm     #  

All part of the long death of common sense.

posted by Hawkeye on Aug 01, 2010 at 03:42:03 pm     #