Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Never Do This. Ever. I'm Not Kidding. Don't.

Dear Blog Readers,

When you see a bear by the side of the road stay in your vehicle.
Take a few quick photos.

What not to do when you see a bear.

We see tourists get near bears this all the time, especially along the Icefields Parkway. It makes us shudder.
Years ago  at Mt. Robson we saw tourists all but posing with a bear that had wandered into the campground.
We tried to tell them to stay away, but they did not listen.
In fairness, most people live so far from nature and are so infected by the Disneyfication of the wild world they plain don't know better.
It is frustrating to try to set them straight, but we did try.
My husband will get out of the car for photos. I've done it myself.
Not practicing what I preach?
Glad you brought it up!
My husband is more familiar with the forest than most. He knows what to do, what not to do, and what to look for when with a wild animal.
So do I.
This bear was minding his own business and at no point did either of us try to get his attention, offer food, or molest him in any way. We kept a respectful distance and watched for any sign of agitation.We took a few pics and left.

This is with a good zoom lens. I am not stupid.
As for me, I commonly make sure there's someone else between the bear and me. Survival is paramount to all species.
It appalls me no end we've gotten so out of tune with the natural world that we think it's okay to approach wildlife. We even expect them to pose nice to us.
Later, when they get used to us and wander into a town, we kill them and tell ourselves it's their fault, not ours.
Take your pictures quickly and at a distance. If you get hurt I have no sympathy for you.
Wildlife has a right to protect itself.

 Aww, thanks, Hilary.


the Bag Lady said...

Good post, cousin.
We certainly have gotten far away from nature - even in the city near where I live.
Just this past weekend, a two-year old bear wandered into town.
The RCMP and Fish and Wildlife officers shot it.
It had acted aggressively toward a man walking his dog... twice. Supposedly.
Their excuse for shooting it rather than tranquilizing and relocating? It was too far into town and had not climbed a tree.
WTF? You can only use a tranquilizer when a bear is up a tree?
Personally, I think they simply wanted to shoot something.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks. I read of the poor GP bear. Shooting it dead is definitive action, and we know that's all that matters.

Red said...

I also have seen this many times . It makes me shudder and get angry.

Leah J. Utas said...

Red, if it wasn't for the fact the bear would be killed for it, I'd say let the tourist find out the hard way.

Hilary said...

Excellent advice, Leah. I also wonder about the natural consequences but the outcome would sadly result in trouble for the wild creature.

When I was around 20-something, I was camping in Newfoundland with my boyfriend. A couple of idiots at the next spot were telling us about how they tried (and obviously failed) to get a photo of one of them sitting on a moose. Really! One of them aimed a gun at the moose's head "just in case, you know" while the other inched his way toward it, ready to climb on its back. Thankfully, the moose just turned and left.

Clearly the gun was pointed at the wrong head.

messymimi said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!

My recent encounter with a tame, friendly cat that was scared is lesson enough that you never know what an animal might do, especially out of fear.

They should be allowed to protect themselves.

Hilary, those people were idiots

Tabor said...

Wise advice. I have seen tourist in Yellowstone get very close to buffalo who are most unpredictable and can kill you. Bears are everywhere in Yellowstone as well and you can come across one just turning the path. You are correct that you must watch their behavior closely...the danger is when both of you startle each other.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Whenever I hear about clueless behavior around wildlife, I think, ah, Darwinism in action!

Kat said...

I completely agree. Like we have infringed upon their land enough, now we have to try and snuggle up with them for a photo up too? Too much.

Here from Hilary's.

Leah J. Utas said...

Hilary, the moose had way more sense than those campers.

Messymimi, at its heart every animal is a wild animal.

Tabor, yes. The last thing one should do is startle an animal. It could be the last thing you do.

Crabby, aye.

Kat, we've gone too far.

Thanks, everyone.

TexWisGirl said...

oh my! great POTW!

Out on the prairie said...

In a number of parks i see people not thinking for a photo.Hey these are omnivores, they eat anything.LOL

CiCi said...

You did a good job telling people not to be so darn stupid only you said it in a nicer way. You are so right about many people losing touch with wildlife and not being able to distinguish between wild and tame. The animals that live in the wild have every right to tell us that we are treading on their turf when we wander out there in the wild.
Congrats on POTW.

Leah J. Utas said...

TexWisGirl, thanks.

Out on the prairie - it's sad to see. Most don't know any better, but there are a few who are just plain stupid.
CiCi - thanks. It was tempting to not be nice. We should listen to what nature is telling us.

Anonymous said...

You're so right! Wildlife is ... well... wildlife.

Barb said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your post. When we have bears come through the neighborhood, invariably tourists will walk close (sometimes bringing children) backing up for to pose so someone can snap a photo. I go out on my upper deck and call, "Be careful - it's dangerous," but they ignore me. On the other hand, I've gotten some great wildlife shots with my zoom from that same deck!

Michael Manning said...

My mother told us this same advice when we were kids. I believed it then and now. Great post. Visiting via Hilary!

Leah J. Utas said...

ladyfi, I wish more people realized that.

Barb, silly, silly people. OTOH, it is cool when the wildlife comes to you.

Michael Manning, your mother was right.
Thanks, all.

waikiki resort said...

They will really take the risk. Such a bad idea. Bears always get angry.