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P.O. Box 142
Yachats, Oregon 97498
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Living with Bears
Yesterday I attended a seminar called ďLiving With BearsĒ and since I live in Yachats that stuck a familiar cord. The same also goes for those who live in Seal Rock, Waldport, Florence and the surrounding areas; we have bears amongst us!
Every year about this time in April Bears become the topics of conversations. There are Bear sightings, calls about Bear damage to trash cans and sometimes outbuildings and sheds. Now and then there will be a report of a Bear approaching a house and several over the past years have been spotted on porches sending shivers though those that look out their windows only to be looking into the eyes of a Bear who is trying to figure out how to get in and chow down. That, the chowing down part, is what according to Bear study experts, is the cause for problems with Bears and humans and more often than not that leads to the death of Bears. Sure one can argue that the Bears were here first and that as we encroach upon their territory itís our fault they are out wandering. However, that is only part of the problem and the biggest part of the whole equation is that Bears are very intelligent creatures and once they figure out where the humans are there is likely to be some food you have trouble. After hibernation Bears need some food, just like people racing to fast food restaurants, Bears will head to trash cans filled with delicious smelling garbage, camp grounds where food is left out, BBQ grills that arenít cleaned properly and still have the smell of meat on them, bird feeders with seeds Bears eat like candy, pet food left in dishes outside, or, and shudder to think, the food, often dry dog food, that folks leave out for raccoons! You canít really blame the Bears. They have superior smelling power, big appetites, and Iím sure a left over hamburger might taste better than a pawfull of grubs.
But the worst human behavior and an illegal one is feeding the Bears. Again, Bears are sharp in the mind, that why they were such good circus performers, they remember. If they are used to being fed they will continue to show up at chow time and beware of a Bear youíve been feeding if you happen to be outside with no food and said Bear shows up with an empty stomach. Whatís worse than that is when the Bear heads to the house next door thinking they are going to feed it too and is shocked to find thatís not the case. Most of the time the Bear will leave in search of some other food source but here have been people attacked by Bears and thatís not a pretty sight.
Of course the feeding of Bears is an indirect death sentence for the Bear.
Enough complaints about Bears will bring officials to the area and they will take the Bear and kill it. To remove a Bear from the Central Coast and put it someplace else would require them to take the Bear out to Eastern Oregon simply because the Bears have a memory that will lead them back to their familiar territory.
So as we glide into the season of Bears, letís think twice about them. They want to live and eat and they can without us helping them or giving them false hope. Just treat a Bear like a Bear and remember itís a wild animal and wild animals like to be left alone. They are cool looking and the cubs are cute but donít sentence them to death by trying to help them or temping them with smelly trash cans and other food sources they can get to. They are pretty darn good at taking care of themselves on their own!
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