Sunday, August 22, 2004

I Saw the Bear!

I saw it! I saw it!

Last summer/fall, and again this summer, black bears have come into our neighbourhood, looking for food. Last fall two bears were shot by conservation (?) officers. The story is that by the time the bears are hanging out in a neighbourhood they are habituated to living with people and surviving on trash and other foraged food, and even if you relocate them to the middle of nowhere they'll find their way back to the nearest town and start again. I wonder if this is based on conjecture or anecdotal evidence or actually studied and documented?

Anyway, my neighbours had seen them, but I'd missed them so far. But tonight about 9pm I took the dog out for a walk. It was just dusky as we headed up the "fire road" a road with woods on one side and bush on another. Ambling along up ahead was about 400 pounds of bigger-than-a-dog-but-not-like-the-ones-at-the-zoo. I don't think he saw or smelled us because he just kept ambling. I stopped and watched long enough to be sure of what I was seeing. Ursa plunged down the slope into the bushes above our top row of townhomes, and dog and I turned around. We walked up our street, which runs parallel to the fire road and the bushy strip where the bear was hanging out. I talked to some kids who were out on their bikes, then knocked on their parents' doors to tell them about it, when the kids acted reluctant to take their bikes home and go inside. (Told you I'm a mom.) When we got to the gap in the houses where the woods meet our road, the dog got all excited and wanted to take me up into the bush. I declined and we headed home.

I feel sad for this little bear. His prospects aren't good if he keeps showing up around here. I'm also going to make sure the kids come in from their evening "capture the flag with walkie-talkies" game before dusk from now on. Aside from that, all we can do is make sure not to leave anything edible out to attract the bears, I guess.

I also feel excited. Last time I actually saw a bear out loose I was 4 years old in Yellowstone Park. It's kind of encouraging to know that big wild things are still here, close to home. Now if only we can convince them to stay on the mountain. Oooops. They're building a "Univer-City" on the mountain with hundreds of homes and amenities. Wonder if that's part of the problem?

Another question for today: Where would you go if you were a bear, stuck between a townhouse complex at the lower edge and construction cranes at the upper edge of your habitat?

mompoet - jazzed for sure, trying to settle down now and get some rest before workday tomorrow

No comments: