Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bears, bears, bears. Every time I’ve seen a bear outside my apartment, it jostles me just a bit. I’m usually sitting on my phone and all of the sudden I say, “Oh my god, there’s a bear…can I let you go.” It’s not a frequent phrase you hear on the phone, so I’m sure my boyfriend gets a kick out of it when I use it, THREE OR FOUR TIMES! Last night at about 8:40pm, I saw a black bear, of cinnamon color just sauntering across the street.

It didn’t seem to mind that there was a car there or a trailer. It just moseyed around for a bit. I grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos before I yelled and chased it off. It ran behind the trailer and into the bushes. THEN, it came back around the trailer and walked along the brushline. I continued to yell and holler to chase it out of the housing area. It ran parallel to the apartment buildings and into the brush. At this time we had about 5 people hollering and trying to get it out of the housing area. It went around the back of the apartment building and we continued to chase it out of the housing area.

In full motion, running away.

Da Bear!

Now I thought the bear was gone…but NO! About 5-10 minutes later, the bear re-appeared. This time it was walking towards my apartment door. I freaked out because I only had the screen door between me and him. So I tried banging on the metal bottom of my door, and the bear ran for the tree in front of my apartment. I banged and banged and nothing. He peaked around to see what was going on.

Eventually, it ran out to another tree in the center of a circle drive, and treed itself.

In the tree. It was starting to slide down it too, loosing grip.

Now here’s where it gets complicated… An NPS employee arrived and told us to move back to our houses and after the bear comes down—we’ll ambush and chase it off. It kinda worked, but the bear still went toward the housing compound. I chased off with a few employees (all in my slippers). We tried our best to chase the bear up and over a hillside, but he did NOT want to go!

In Glacier National Park we have some management directives that tell us how to deal with bears. The St. Mary housing area is OFF Limits to bears. They can use the Divide creek corridor to travel, but should stay away from housing. In a normal situation we would NOT have chased the bear or even tried to haze it. It is up to specific bear rangers and even on up to the Park Superintendant to decide how to haze a bear. They can collective haze bears by yelling, use rubber bullets, bing-bags, catch and release, but very last euthanasia. Unfortunately, the Indian reservation doesn’t have the same policy. If a bear gets into trash just once, they can euthanize the bear. I’ve lived here in September when a bear family was euthanized on the reservation. It was sad because there was a momma bear and two cubs. Even with hazing and extreme precautions, the bear got into garbage on the reservation and all three were euthanized. I just don’t want to see that happen again…with any bear, anywhere.

Weather: Warm, partly cloudy, but sunny, mid 50’s.

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