Bear Conflicts With Humans Are Increasing at an Alarming Rate

by Michael Freeman

Though horrifying, bear attacks aren’t something you commonly hear about occurring. However, bear attacks as of late are rising, and at an alarming rate.

Grizzly bears are venturing out of the heart of Yellowstone National Park and Alaska sports thriving brown bear populations. The same is true for black bears, with their ranges expanding into suburbs and other populous areas. While black bears themselves aren’t really perceived as dangerous, any interaction between them and people can end in disaster.

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies associates these upticks in assaults with human intervention. According to them, increased bear conflicts come from bears changing their natural behavior. This occurs when people leave outside sources, such as garbage dumpsters, pet food, domestic poultry, etc., lying around. Limiting bears’ access to these food sources is the best thing people can do to reduce attacks.

Additionally, the increased grizzly attacks could be attributed to the species doing much better than before. Federally protected because there were only an estimated 700-800 grizzlies in the continental U.S. at one time, their numbers have more than doubled. With over 2,000 of the species around now, the Fish and Wildlife Service is reportedly considering delisting them from federal protection in the Yellowstone area.

Kevin Frey, a long-time Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Grizzly Bear Management Specialist supports this idea. “What hangs up the delisting are concerns over other factors, but we’ve met the recovery requirements. With the safeguards that we have in place to make sure that the population doesn’t get into trouble and crash again, I think it’s fine. Yeah, grizzly bears should be delisted.”

California Bears Are Breaking Into People’s Homes Due To Wildfires

California residents who evacuated their homes due to wildfires are returning, but have a new problem on their hands. Many people abandoned their homes for more than a week, leading to bear break-ins. Sergeant Simon Brown of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office says it’s because fires disrupted the balance between humans and bears.

Bears flocked the wildfires as well and stumbled upon empty homes foraging for food. Garbage cans in the area were also tampered with. KCRA reported that of 17 break-ins during the evacuation phase, bears caused 15 of them.

Bear and Tahoe area expert Toogee Sielsch offered advice for people returning to their homes. “When you come home and if you find that it looks like a window’s open or door’s open and something has accessed into your house, don’t rush in and definitely don’t block that spot.”

Chances are if a bear entered through a certain opening they will exit through it. If you suspect a bear is in your home, Brown strongly suggests you call authorities to lure the animal out.