|Can the general public
be educated to be safe around bears?
There are some simple rules that could be taught to the public
which would keep them out of trouble with bears, providing the bears
have not been trained to dislike people. Some important rules would
- Always carry pepper spray.
- Never offer food to a bear or let it have your garbage or pet
- Never intentionally approach a bear and if it approaches you
talk to it calmly.
- Assume a relaxed posture and avoid eye contact until the bear
shows no anxiety.
- Slowly move away if either you or the bear feel uncomfortable.
|Is it necessary to always make a lot
of noise while hiking in bear country?
||No. With the experience
that Maureen and I have gained we can now safely respond to situations
as they occur and we only deliberately announce our presence in very
thick bush. We have found that bears consider loud noise to be annoying
which in itself may trigger aggression.
|Should you play dead?
||This should only be considered
as a last resort, after all else has failed and only if you are sure
that the bear is a grizzly and it is about to maul you. Instead, carry
pepper spray and know how to use it in the rare situation where a
bear is aggressive. Also, talk to the bear with a calm, sincere voice,
while telling it that you mean it no harm. The bear responds to the
inflection of the voice.
|Does it always follow that a bear becomes
dangerous if it loses its fear of people?
||We are finding that as
long as there is "mutual respect", bears will not act aggressively
towards humans. For human safety to be sustainable, a whole different
understanding of bears and different management practices will have
be developed to replace the existing approach.
|Are bears intelligent?
What does this mean towards managing them?
||Yes. Recognizing their
intelligence and wonderful memory is necessary in managing bears.
We can then start to understand how bears respond to actions such
as the unnecessary displacement of them from areas that people and
bears could share if mutual understanding could be practiced.
|Are grizzlies and black bears similar
enough so what we have learned in Kamchatka is applicable to both?
||All the techniques that
we emphasize about staying safe around grizzlies also apply to the
black bear. The converse is not true because black bears are not as
defensive as grizzlies. That is why it is important to study the grizzly
and apply the knowledge back to the other species of bear.
|Can our methods for
protecting ourselves in grizzly country be applied to North America?
||Yes, the technique of using
electric fencing and carrying pepper spray are useful for all who
live or hike in bear country. Also, using our voice to calm bears
when they are encountered could be useful to anyone who transcends
their fear of bears enough to be able to speak calmly and sincerely
to them about their peaceful intentions.
|Do bear management practices have influence
on a bear's attitude towards man?
||One trait that is true
about grizzly bears is that there is a reasonable chance of them responding
negatively to disagreeable or hurtful treatment. The opposite is also
true. Because they are intelligent and sensitive animals, it would
therefore follow that the management of them should also be intelligent
|Why hasn't Eco Tourism
developed in Kamchatcka?
||Kamchatka has extraordinary
potential for tourism with its wonderful bears and other wildlife,
volcanoes, and untouched wilderness, but this could only happen after
it has developed some necessary infrastructure. Tourism is a must
if the Russians are to realize the importance of protecting their
natural resources. The Kambalnoy Lake area where we are situated,
however, has such inhospitable weather with wind and fog, that it
would be to unreliable for meeting schedules. Frequently, people see
our photographs and and see a beautiful place that they would love
to visit. What they usually don't understand is that we mostly take
pictures when the weather is nice, which is quite rare. Being trapped
by horrendous weather is a common occurrence.
|What are we going to do with the information
||We are each writing a
book - Maureen is working on a children's book and Charlie's is about
a different understanding about bears.. Our web site will continue
to connect people with our research. Maureen will premiere the "Through
the Eyes of the Bear" art exhibition at the gala millennium opening
of the Muttart Contemporary Art Center. The exhibition will include
a pilot school program to coordinate artistic, scientific, and literary
concerns while focusing on the conservation of bears and their habitat.
|Why Do We Have To Go
- Our work is meaningful only if our findings have application
in the populated world of our own bear country here in Canada.
The longer we can demonstrate that our methods of living with
bears is safe and can work, the more useful our findings will
be in developing new management techniques.
- We are learning the subtleties of what it takes for humans to
be safe around bears. The number of bears provide a high frequency
of contact in many different situations to test what we are learning.
We are able to watch bears though the seasonal changes and the
variables of food availability from year to year. We can even
observe them through their life cycles but this takes time.
- Our learning is accelerated because of our location among so
many wild bears that are unspoiled by man. With five years of
research in Kamchatka we will have gained the equivalent experiences
that would take two lifetimes of research anywhere in the Rockies.
Do grizzly bears frequent the Okanagan orchards?
|Grizzly bears in the
Okanagan like the orchards this is true. They like to eat the fruit
off the trees. As you probably know bears love berries but they also
like the fruit off the orchards as well. There is a way to keep the
bears out of the orchards and that is to erect an electric fence around
the orchard. Maureen and Charlie have proven that electric fence is
an effective tool to keep grizzly bears out of areas.