28 June 2010

Grizzly Bears & Humans

A little more than a week ago, an older man was killed by a Grizzly bear near Yellowstone. The man was a local and knew he was going into a trapping area. Small consolation but in the category of we all get to choose the way we go.

What Tom Bold and I saw the same day in the park represents much less thought and conscious choice. We saw 3 Grizzlies that Thursday. One, from a distance across a meadow, was running and romping. We were struck by how large the bear must be, for us to have such a clear view at a distance.

The next sighting was scary. A mother Grizzly and her cub, with humans standing as close as 20 feet. It was a grove-like area with shade, and very near the paved road. (That's why we had a view for about 30 seconds. We dodged cars and people to drive away from the scene.)

What would make about 50 humans (adults and children) gather around a mother and cub? Why would drivers be comfortable pulling half-way off the road and leaving their cars to approach for a better look?

All I can think is that the humans felt safe because there were other humans around. A group of humans? No animal can take on a group of humans.

And technically that's true. Even a Grizzly cannot attack the whole group. But she could surely take out one or two humans.

Tom Bold pointed out the other risk: any movement by the bear would trigger a group exit in which humans would get hurt by humans.

I am very glad I saw the bears. I am very glad we kept moving.

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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