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John (bird whisperer)
Friday Weird Science: Don’t try this at home!!! | Neurotic Physiology -
Friday Weird Science: Don’t try this at home!!! | Neurotic Physiology
Friday Weird Science: Don’t try this at home!!! | Neurotic Physiology
"So how do you sneak up on a bear? First, you need to know where your bears are. The authors of this study had 30 bears of different ages (I love that this paper has a section of the methods called simply "the bears") each equipped with a GPS tracking collar. Once they had the GPS coordinates of the bear (about a year after they had been collared, so the bears had plenty of time for recovery), they sent out between one and four people, acting as "hikers". The "hikers" approached the bear from a distance of 870 meters (ish), starting upwind, and kept a normal hiking pace while talking amongst themselves (and probably trying NOT to talk about bears, though I bet it's all they were thinking about..."hey larry, about the game last night..." "...BEARS"). If the hiker was alone, they were instructed to talk to themselves. If they are anything like me, this would be one of the times where I wouldn't have anything to say to myself. The hikers approached to within 50 meters of the bear, and then headed off. The observers stated that they actually saw the bears only about 15% of the time (and they performed 169 approach attempts)." - John (bird whisperer) from Bookmarklet
"And what happened? Well, it turns out that bears don't like people. In fact, they run away from them. 80% of the time. When the bears stayed, they were usually 80 meters or more away from the observers. Bears were more likely to run away when there was more than one person. But in none of the cases did the bears display any aggressiveness. This actually makes the Scandinavian Brown Bear less aggressive than the North American variety. Bears can act aggressive when wounded, if they have cubs, or if they have a tasty pile of meat to gnaw on. None of the bears in this study were wounded or had cubs, but several had fresh carcasses, and all of them gave them up and lumbered away without a fight. So it looks like your average bear would rather flight than fight when approached by humans. Of course, there were no momma bears in this sample, and the authors always approached upwind. Downwind might startle the bear more and allow people to get closer before being detected. But for now, it appears safe to go hiking in Scandinavia without fear of being attacked by bears. And we all salute the people brave enough to walk up to bears for science. " - John (bird whisperer)