Learn about living with bears; creating bear smart communities; recreating in bear country; bear safety at work; and managing bears (for wildlife officials).

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Bears that are no longer afraid of us

If a bear is no longer afraid of people, does that make them?
a. Dangerous
b. Habituated
c. Tame
d. Crazy

Well they’re certainly not tame bears. They’re once wild bears whose response to a repeated neutral stimulus – us – is diminishing over time. Why? Because there’s just a lot of us around and it simply takes less energy for animals to ignore non-threats than to run away or climb a tree every time they encounter us.

This form of acclimation, human-to-bear can be tricky: it’s easy to get a little too comfy around acclimated bears, which can lead to carelessness. Especially if you’re one person is a crowd, in say, the middle of the Village, in the dark at 2 am, with a possibility of alcohol involvement. While there’s strength in numbers, your group may still be at a disadvantage. And while, no one has ever been seriously hurt by a bear, even in these exact circumstances, the bear’s life is almost always cut short.

It’s also possible to distance from your setting with a camera lens and forget that yes, it’s actually you

All that said, the real game changer – in terms of the human relationship to bears – is actually providing bears access to human food and garbage sources. Human-food-conditioning creates HUGE problems – more so for bears than people, because bears usually end of dead, but there is also the likelihood of property damage when you allow property to be attractive to bears. Once bears get comfortable seeking food from people, they will go to greater and greater lengths to get access. It might very well be amusing to watch Mr. Bear at your bird feeder performing circus tricks, but it may not be so amusing when you find him emptying your kitchen cupboards.

It’s a game you don’t want to begin. And puleease….. if you’re only here for a short time, don’t leave your legacy behind for the local people to live with and the bears to die by.

Do your homework. Learn how to live in harmony with bears in your community.

Here are a few tips that will help:

  1. do not allow bears access to your garbage
  2. check your property for other bear attractants
  3. learn more about bear behaviour and the true nature of bears

Can we coexist ? Living with bears around your home.

ANSWER: B. Habituated

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