Video: baby bear attack?

I saw this horrifying article about a 19 year old girl being killed by a bear while on the phone with her mother the other day. Maybe you read the gruesome story, too. It was terrifying. Reading it basically ruined my day. But, apparently, reading that news story wasn’t enough for me. I proceeded to scour YouTube for bear and bear-attack related videos. Which, for the record, isn’t really a good idea. Not if you want to have any semblance of a normal, functioning day at least. But I digress.

While searching YouTube, I came across this video of a man being approached by a baby bear. And he’s playing with the baby bear. And it’s kind of cute. Kind of. Maybe it’s just me being neurotic me, but here’s my question: Where is mama bear? And why does this guy seem unconcerned with asking himself that very same question? I don’t care which corner of the world I’m in, if a baby bear comes running toward me, I’m outta there. Anyone with me on this one?

Hiker killed by grizzly bear in Yellowstone

A 57-year old man out for a hike along a popular trail in Yellowstone National Park was attacked, and killed by a grizzly bear on Wednesday. It was the first fatal bear attack within the park in 25 years.

The man, who has yet to be named, and his wife set out to hike the Wapiti Lake Trail, located inside Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. They reportedly had only walked a mile and half when they came upon a female grizzly bear with her cubs. The bear reacted to the surprise encounter by attacking the couple, fatally injuring the husband, while his wife looked on. Other hikers, hearing her cries for help, rushed to the scene and dialed 911, but the man passed away before park rangers could reach his location.

Summer is a very busy time in Yellowstone, and the trails are often crowded with hikers. Despite that, rangers say that there were no reported bears sightings in the area prior to the attack. As a precaution however, they’ve closed several campsites and hiking trails close to where the encounter took place, and have posted warning signs as well. A search was also underway to locate the bear, and if found, she and the cubs would most likely be relocated to a more remote location. Because the attack was in defense of her young, rangers say that the bear would not be put down. So far, the search has turned up no sign of the bears.

Despite the fact that both black bear and grizzly bear call Yellowstone home, there has not been a fatal encounter with those creatures in the park since 1986. However, last year a bear wandered into a campsite not far from the park and killed a camper in his tent. It was a grim reminder of how dangerous these animals can be when encountered in the wild.

If you are planning a trip to Yellowstone, or some other backcountry destination this year, officials from the park offered up some helpful hints to keep you safe. They recommend traveling in groups of three or more and making plenty of noise while walking. That will give animals advanced warning of your approach and time to get out of your way, making it a safer environment for you and them.

It is also highly advisable that hikers carry bear spray, which is a bit like Mace for animals. Bear spray can be purchased in most outdoor gear stores in states inhabited by the creatures, although you’ll wan to buy it once you’ve reached your destination. The TSA frowns on a giant can of extra-powerful pepper spray in your carry-on. The spray is a good investment for anyone planning a wilderness hike however.

Boy skis into bear den, lives to tell tale

A 12-year old Swedish boy has quite a tale to share after he accidently skied into a bear den last Friday, much to the ire of the inhabitant, who was home at the time.

Ollie Frisk and four of his friends were skiing in the backcountry at the Härjedalen ski resort, located in northern Sweden, at the time of the incident. Frisk unwittingly skied over the den, causing it to collapse under his weight and sending him tumbling inside. The female brown bear slumbering beneath the snow, woke up at the sound of an intruder in her home, and immediately pounced on the young man, who says he thought that he was dead for sure.

“I accepted death, that was the feeling, let it come,” Frisk is quoted as saying.

But Ollie didn’t die. Instead, he says, he quit struggling as he accepted the inevitability of his fate, and when he did so, the bear simply stopped attacking him. A few moments later she wandered out of the lair, where Ollie’s friends made loud noises to scare her away. They then helped Frisk from the den, and back down the hill to safety.

The boy spent the night in a hospital, where he was treated for bite wounds on both legs and scratches on his back. Although he is lucky to be alive, Ollie is recovering quite nicely now and has returned home with his family.

The bear’s cubs might not be so lucky however. After being scared off, the female hasn’t returned to the den and the cubs have now been left alone for several days. If they aren’t fed soon, wildlife officials may need to step in to save them. They’re still hoping that mama will return home to her kids, but they are prepared to act if she doesn’t.

[Photo credit: HBarrison via WikiMedia]

Father saves daughter from zoo bear attack

Warning to little girls everywhere–giant teddy bears may very well try to eat you.

Warning to parents everywhere–watch your kids when around dangerous wild animals.

A Dutch family was visiting a private zoo in Luenebach, Germany, when their three-year-old daughter became enchanted by an Asian black bear. While her parents’ backs were turned she climbed the fence, which was only a meter (three feet) tall, and fell inside the bear’s enclosure. The bear then struck the kid. Daddy leaped in, got his own share of bear battering, and managed to save his daughter. Both were taken to the hospital but their injuries are not life-threatening.

This isn’t the first time the bear has acted like, well, a bear. Three years ago he attacked and injured a zookeeper.

Police are now investigating why it was so easy for a small child to get into the bear’s enclosure and why the parents didn’t notice her doing it.

As a parent I can testify to how quickly a small child can slip out of sight and get into mischief, but even when my son was three he knew not to climb fences and approach strange animals. Why? Because I told him. Of course that’s no guarantee, but he hasn’t done it in the first five years of his life, greatly increasing the chances that he will see the next five. Parents, please, teach your kids about animal safety. Cute does not mean safe. Just ask the Chinese guy who suffered a panda attack.

Image courtesy of Guérin Nicolas via Wikimedia Commons.