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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beware of Grizzlies!

When Yellowstone NP opened for the 2011 season there had not been a fatal Grizzly attack inside the park since 1986. So far in 2011, there have been two. This will be the first time in the park's history that there has been more than one fatal bear attack in the same year.

The first victim was from California and was fatally mauled on July 6, 2011 while hiking with his wife.

The second victim, a man from Michigan, was found on August 26, 2011 by two other bikers on a 21 mile trail. It has now been concluded that he was attacked by a grizzly sometime on the 24th or 25th. He was traveling alone, camping and hiking in an area of known grizzly activity and was NOT carrying bear spray!

They don't know if the same bear is responsible for both attacks (the bear in the first attack was a mama beat with her cubs so no action was taken), but they are performing tests on fur samples taken from the scenes to determine if this was the same bear.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that when we choose to hike, camp, picnic, etc, in National Parks such as Yellowstone and we are doing it at our OWN RISK! That is their home...their territory. They are WILD animals, not pets. Their instinct is to protect their cubs and their food source.  The few times we have gone to the park I have been astonished at people getting out of their cars to capture pictures of the animals along the sides of the  road.  Bison, bears, moose....these are dangerous animals in the wild, not donkeys at the petting zoo.  And for goodness sake, carry bear spray if you are going to venture out in the park to hike or camp. Our family carries a can even if we are just going to be picnicking.  You never know when you might have an encounter with a bear or any animal for that matter.  Heed the warning signs that are posted throughout the entire park and use some common sense, not only for your protection, but for the protection of the animals as well.

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