Meet the man who's survived a snake, bear and shark attack - BBC News
The resulting photos and stories are presented in his new book, Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, A Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear, and here we. A year-old outdoorsman bitten by a shark had previously survived a bear attack and snake bite. The damage from a slap is nothing close to the folklore that a bear can disembowel man or beast with a swipe of the paw. Black bear claws are strong for.
A big revelation to me was how reluctant black bear mothers are to defend their cubs against people, even when the family is cornered in a den and I'm trying to stick the mother with a needle to tranquilize her. Defense of cubs is more a grizzly bear trait. There is no record of anyone being killed by a mother black bear defending her cubs, and attacks are very rare.
We routinely capture black bear cubs in the presence of mothers and have never been attacked. Black bears are so timid today partly because they evolved alongside such powerful predators as saber-toothed cats, American lions, dire wolves and short-faced bears, all of which became extinct only about 12, years ago.
Black bears were the only one of these that could climb trees, so black bears survived by staying near trees and developing the attitude: The timid ones passed on their genes to create the black bear of today. That timid attitude still serves black bears well now that people have spread across North America. Startled black bears run away, often to a tree.
By contrast, a startled grizzlies may charge and occasionally attack, making grizzlies over 20 times more dangerous than black bears. What should people do if they see a black bear in the wild? We like to make ourselves inconspicuous to watch them longer before they discover us and run. To make the bear run away, step out and wave and say "Hi, I'm a human! Fearful people usually tell us "I ran one way and the bear ran the other. Offensive attacks are very rare and include all of the killings by black bears.
These are generally unprovoked predatory attacks in remote areas where bears have the least contact with people. Bears that visit campgrounds, bird feeders, and garbage cans almost never kill people, even though these bears have by far the most contact with people. Theblack bears of North America kill less than one person per year on the average, while 1 out of each 16, people commits murder each year across North America.
Most attacks by black bears attacks are defensive reactions to a person who is very close, which is an easy situation to avoid.
Injuries from these defensive reactions are usually minor. Carrying a small can of pepper spray is a good way to feel self confident around black bears.
It works as well on bears as it does on dogs. They don't go away mad, they just go away. This 4-year-old girl made this bear run away by spraying it in the eyes. The next day, the girl saw the same bear and it ran up a tree. Bears can look like they are stalking when they are actually approaching out of simple curiosity. Will a bear attack because it senses you are afraid? Most people who find themselves near a black bear ARE afraid, and they are not attacked.
Black bears are not territorial toward people like some dogs are. Black bears are mostly afraid THEY will be attacked. If a person doesn't want a black bear to come closer, act aggressively.
Soon you too will have more composure when sighting a bear because you will know what to do.
Avoid, avoid, avoid The best way to prevent an unpleasant bear encounter is to avoid them all together. Travel in groups the larger the better and make lots of noise by talking or singing. And put the iPod away and pay attention to your surroundings.
When it happens Remain calm and ready your bear spray or other deterrent.
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Stay together if you are in a group; you will appear larger and more intimidating if you stick together. Try to figure out whether the bear is a grizzly or a black bear. Click here to learn how to tell the difference. If possible, try to determine whether there are cubs present or whether the bear is defending an animal carcass or other food source. Bears at a distance If you see a bear in the distance, respect its need for personal space.
Do not approach it, even to get a photo, and give it as much room as possible. Consider turning around and leaving the way you came.
If you must continue, take a detour and give the bear a wide berth. Bears can cover large distances in a relatively short period of time, so if you are camping, be sure to store your food well out of reach of any bears in the area. Close encounters of the bear kind If you encounter a bear on the trail, or in your campsite, stop what you are doing and evaluate the situation. Identify yourself by speaking in a calm, appeasing tone.
Back away slowly, preferably in the direction you came. In most cases, the bear will flee. Ensure the bear has a clear and safe escape route with no people or obstacles in its way.
Stand tall and look it directly in the eye. Yell at the bear and firmly tell it to leave: For more information on how to deter black bears, click here.
How dangerous are black bears?
Never try to move a grizzly bear! This is often the case with a mother bear with cubs, a bear defending a food source, or a surprise encounter. The closer you are to the bear when it becomes aware of you, the more likely it is to react defensively: It is simply trying to communicate that you are too close.
Try to appear non-threatening by remaining still and calm. Ready your bear spray by removing the safety lock. Speak in an appeasing voice and back away, increasing your distance from the bear. Leave the area immediately. Defensive responses that result in physical contact almost always involve grizzly bears surprised at close range, on a carcass or protecting young. The very few defensive attacks by black bears have been females protecting cubs but these are very rare.