Black bears are not dangerous — Except when they are

First published July 10, 2017:

Bear Bites Teen At Colorado Camp, Attacks On The Rise With 100 ‘Conflict Situations’ Reported In 1 Week. A teen staffer at a Colorado camp said he fought off a bear on Sunday after he woke up to find the animal was biting his head and trying to drag him away.

Dylan, 19, was sleeping at Glacier View Ranch — 48 miles northwest of Denver — when he woke up to a crunching sound, and found his head inside the mouth of the bear. The bear was trying to pull him out of his sleeping bag. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said the teen punched the animal, and other staffers nearby started yelling and hitting the bear with things around them. After this, the bear left. Dylan was then treated briefly at a hospital and released.

See also, Teen bit in head by bear in Colorado wakes up to ‘crunching sound’

The attack was at a campsite near Overland Road between Jamestown and Colorado 72 (Peak to Peak Highway).

I believe black bears that live in and around dense human populations (town bears) are more dangerous than black bears that live in wild and remote areas (wilderness bears). I also believe that town bear populations are increasing and wilderness bear populations are decreasing. In other words, things are going the wrong way.

The town bear movement mirrors the early 20th century migration of people from farms to cities where life was easier and a higher living standard was available. Bears are leaving the wilderness and moving close to humans for similar reasons.

What is to be done? For starters, feeding bears should become a serious offense with jail time. After all, those who feed wild bears are endangering people. In certain areas, not having bear proof trash cans should become socially unacceptable. The art lies in knowing what is to be accomplished by force and in what persuasion alone may be the proper  course.

UPDATE: Many black bears in Colorado are cinnamon colored. I’ve seen them, they are beautiful, but never forget they are bears. You might look like food to them.

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