Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lessons from Bear Affair

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Grizzly brothers, Keema and Denali, demonstrated at Saturday’s Bear Affair: Pacific Northwest Conservation presented by Brown Bear Car Wash what bears can do to your campsite or backyard when you don’t store your garbage, food or gear properly. 

See the damage they caused and learn bear safety tips to avoid these scenarios.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

If you are camping out in bear country, make sure to pitch your tents in a line or a semicircle facing your cooking area. With this set up, you will be more likely to spot a bear that wanders into your camp and the bear will have a clear escape route, according to our conservation collaborators over at Western Wildlife Outreach.

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.

When camping, remember the 100 yard rule. Locate your cook area and food cache at least 100 yards downwind from your tent when not in established campgrounds.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Even if you plan to use the waterways, avoid setting up camp next to streams and nearby trails, as bears and other wildlife use these as travel routes.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

If food scraps and good smells are around, a bear will find it. Here, a grizzly investigates the smells inside a kayak left unattended.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Use bear-resistant containers to store food. If the bear is thwarted from getting at the goods and leaves in frustration, it will be less likely to go after something like that again. The fewer human-bear encounters we have, the safer the bears and the safer the humans.

Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

Say "goodbye" to your fishing pole if you leave it—and any bait or caught fish—unattended. Fish is especially odorous and attractive to bears.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Bears aren’t just interested in campsites. In the Pacific NW, we might encounter bears in our own backyards. This pool party was certainly not meant for bears.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Who wouldn’t go after chocolate cake? 

When barbecuing or hosting an outdoor party, remember not to leave food, scraps, garbage, recycling or pet food accessible to bears. You don’t want them to start to associate your yard with a food reward, or the encounters will just increase and the danger will escalate.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

With a bear-resistant garbage can he can’t get into on the left, and a pool he can’t fit into in front of him, who can blame this bear for giving up? 

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.

Even if the pizza is long gone, the odors will remain and could attract bears. Store garbage indoors or in bear-resistant garbage cans.

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo.

Everything is fair game to be destroyed once food or smells attract a bear to your backyard party.

Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

The remains of the day.

To learn more about co-existing with not just bears, but other local predators including cougars and wolves, explore more from Western Wildlife Outreach, a Woodland Park Zoo Living Northwest conservation project.

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