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Four Hurt in Separate Bear Attacks in the West

August 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Four Hurt in Separate Bear Attacks in the West 

A mother bear injured two hikers on Thursday near Canyon Village (near center of map above) in Yellowstone National Park.

Two separate grizzly bear attacks Thursday (Aug. 15) left four people with non-life threatening injuries, ABC News reported.

The attacks took place just west of Island Park Reservoir in Idaho and Cygnet Lakes Trail, southwest of Canyon Village trail in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

In Idaho, two private contractors doing habitat assessment work were unknowingly near a bear sleeping behind a tree.

A bear charged at one of the men and bit him in the thigh and the backside, knocking him down, Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game told ABC News. The other man then tried to spray the bear as he was charging at him, but the bear attacked both of the man’s hands.

The men managed to escape and other workers helped to transport them to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho, Losinski said.

According to a hospital nurse, the men suffered treatable but substantial injuries.

“The biggest worry is infection, as bears do not have clean teeth,” Losinski said.

The second attack Thursday involved a mother bear defending her cub, according to the National Parks Service.

“When we have hikers that come upon grizzlies and they have a cub, the first thing the mother’s going to do is try to defend those cubs,” Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle told ABC News Radio.

A group of four people hiking in Yellowstone saw an approaching grizzly bear cub around 11:30 a.m., the parks service said. A sow grizzly then appeared and attacked two of the hikers, leaving them with bite and claw wounds. They managed to escape when the unharmed hikers discharged canisters of bear spray, scaring away the sow and her cub.

“They were following all the directions that we encourage people to do when they’re in the back country, which is hike in groups, carry pepper spray and make noise on the trail,” Hottle said. “Unfortunately, a mother with cubs in the park is the most dangerous animal we have.”

All four members of the group were able to walk out of the trailhead, according to the parks service. One person was treated at the scene, while the second hiker was transported to a hospital by ambulance.

“It could have just been that they surprised her, walked up on her,” Hottle said. “The first she’s going to do is have her claws out and be ready, so it’s lucky that they escaped the way that they did without serious injury.”

 

Feisty Cub Forces Glacier Campground Closure

August 6, 2013 by · Comments Off on Feisty Cub Forces Glacier Campground Closure 

A scenic view from Rising Sun Campground in Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

A bit of a role reversal to the Goldilocks story has led Glacier National Park officials to temporarily close the Rising Sun Campground.

Seems the “somebody” who’s been attempting to sleep in someone’s bed here, has been a bear, The Missoulian, Missoula, Mont., reported.

Rising Sun Campground is located where “the mountains meet the prairies,” just west of St. Mary.

Early Sunday what is believed to be a small sub-adult black bear approached an occupied tent in the campground, located on the park’s east side, and lay down on a corner of it. The campers awoke and frightened it away by yelling.

The incident follows on the heels of two others in the campground in the past month, including one where a bear snatched a pillow from under a sleeping camper’s head.

All three incidents are believed to involve the same young bear. In the third, a bear rifled through clothing along the shores of St. Mary Lake, where the campground is located.

No one was injured in any of the incidents.

Denise Germann, management assistant, said the bear does not appear to be looking for a food reward, nor has it received one.

“But it is learning to approach and handle human materials,” Germann said. “Park rangers and wildlife managers will conduct aversive conditioning, or negative reinforcement, to attempt to modify the bear’s behavior.”

That means trapping and tagging the bear, and using hazing techniques involving bean bags, rubber bullets and/or noise stimulus.

The conditioning may take a few days.

A grizzly bear has been sighted in the vicinity of the campground as well. Because the trap could attract it, the entire 83-spot campground is being closed temporarily.

Officials had closed the upper loop Monday and limited occupancy in the lower loop to hard-sided camping after the latest incident, and announced the entire campground would close starting Tuesday.

Nightly Rising Sun Campground programs will move to the St. Mary Campground during the closure.

Rising Sun Campground is a first-come, first-served facility. Officials don’t know how long it will be closed.

 

Latest Briefs from RV Parks and Campgrounds

July 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on Latest Briefs from RV Parks and Campgrounds 

 

An aerial view of the Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort near Toxaway, N.C.

NORTH CAROLINA

From an e-mail:

A weekend of education and entertainment is planned for July 19-21 as Mountain Falls Realty launches its marketing of lots at Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort near Lake Toxaway, N.C.

The mountaintop resort will introduce Colt Robinson, the broker in charge, unveil coach cottage renderings and floorplans and present the cottage build-out guide. Live entertainment will feature members of “Connor Christian & Southern Gothic” and the Jeff Spirko Band.

For more information on this event e-mail info@mountain-falls.com or call (888) 466-9350 ext. 104.

WYOMING

From The Associated Press:

Shoshone National Forest officials have temporarily banned soft-sided tents at campgrounds near Brooks Lake in far western Fremont County.

The reason is more grizzly bears than usual are being spotted in the area.

The restriction is just a precaution. Forest spokeswoman Kristie Salzmann says there are no recent reports of close encounters between people and grizzlies in the area.

The tent restriction includes the Brooks Lake and Pinnacles campgrounds halfway between Dubois and Moran Junction in Grand Teton National Park. Soft-sided tents also are prohibited along Bonneville Road.

Trailer-type campers are still allowed but forest officials say it’s important for all campers to keep a clean camp. That means don’t leave any food outside.

The restriction is in place until further notice.

CALIFORNIA

From tripleblaze.com:

Tripleblaze has released a list of the top 10 campgrounds in the state of California, including five campgrounds that are in the nation’s top 100. The Tripleblaze best campgrounds list is compiled using visitors’ ratings and reviews of 860 California campgrounds that have been collected continuously since 2005.

It’s no surprise that eight of the top 10 campgrounds in California are located within easy striking distance of the Pacific coast. Yosemite National Park made a showing twice with the Yosemite National Park Campground and the Upper Pines Campground, both located in the Yosemite Valley. The coastal campgrounds were evenly spread between the redwoods in the north and the sandy beaches in the south, with two in the redwood forest and two at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

All of these campgrounds are located in either a regional park or a national park, and therefore are all government owned.

  1. Yosemite National Park Campground – Mariposa.
  2. Upper Pines Campground – Yosemite Valley.
  3. Westport – Union Landing State Park Campground – Leggett.
  4. Andrew Molera State Park Campground – Big Sur.
  5. Leo Carrillo State Park Campground – Malibu.
  6. Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park Campground – Weott.
  7. Hendy Woods State Park Campground – Point Arena.
  8. Anthony Chabot Campground – Castro Valley.
  9. Spruce Grove Trail Camp Campground – Angeles National Forest.
  10. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground – Big Sur.

Staff Kills Nosey Yellowstone Natl. Park Bear

June 28, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A black bear is seen eating food from a campsite at the Canyon Campground in Yellowstone National Park on June 22, 2013, in this photo provided to the National Park Service by a park visitor. Yellowstone officials shot and killed the bear when it refused to leave the campground.

A black bear that refused to leave a Yellowstone National Park campground after getting a taste of human food there was killed by park staff Saturday (June 22), the National Park Service said.

At about 3:30 p.m. that day, the 142-pound adult male black bear entered the Canyon Campground and came within 6 feet of a man and woman eating, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

The campers backed off, and the bear ate some of the food off their table. It then went through their garbage and pawed at their tent.

As the bear left their campsite, it checked out tents, fire pits and bear-proof trash bins and food-storage boxes at other campsites.

Rangers hazed the bear out of the campground, but it returned later in the day. Out of a concern for safety, the bear was shot and killed later that night.

Park spokesman Dan Hottle said the situation was unusual because typically rangers will try to haze the bear away from an area several times. Usually, the bears take a sniff and move on, he said.

“We knew he wasn’t leaving,” said Hottle. “We had quite a few rangers on the scene and our bear management folks. For the sake of our rangers and a packed campground, we had to get him out of there.”

Hottle said this was the first reported bear encounter of the summer season in Yellowstone.

Arizona Bear-Proofing Many Campgrounds

April 23, 2013 by · Comments Off on Arizona Bear-Proofing Many Campgrounds 

There have only been 10 bear attacks in Arizona since 1990. But the attack at Ponderosa Campground on June 24, 2012, marked the second incident at that very campsite and the third in the state over a one-month span.

In response to last year’s attacks, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is working with the U.S. Forest Service to bear-proof Payson-area campgrounds and raise awareness about the dangers that may arise any time for those camping in bear country, the Tucson Sentinel reported.

“The big thing is to be bear-aware,” said Rachael Hohl, recreation manager for the Tonto National Forest’s Payson Ranger District.

As part of the “Bear Aware” campaign, signs, pamphlets and brochures with information and safety tips can now be found throughout Ponderosa and other area campgrounds.

So far, the Forest Service has equipped 27 of 260 area campsites with metal storage containers for food, while campgrounds have bear-proof trash receptacles, Hohl said.

Dave Daniels, Payson wildlife manager for Game and Fish, said keeping scents that attract bears out of campsites is a big part of the campaign.

“Don’t bring your Snickers bars or dirty diapers into your tent,” he said. “Bears, or any animal with a large rostrum (nose), will be attracted by smell, so that means food, garbage or anything it thinks it can eat.”

Daniels cited last year’s severe drought as the main reason for so much bear activity in such a short time.

“The water not only provides drinking water for them but it also provides food for them because all the plant life they eat needs rain to grow,” he said. “So when there’s a drought, there’s a lack of water and food and that’s when some of your wildlife starts to wander.”

The drought is less pronounced this year, Daniels said, and because the sites are more bear-proof now, campers should not be deterred from visiting the area.

According to wildlife experts, black bear attacks are rare and fatal attacks are extremely uncommon. A woman walking her dog late at night was fatally mauled in Pinetop two years ago; before that, Arizona’s last documented fatality was in the late 1800s.

If a bear does attack, officials say it’s important to stand up, raise your arms and shout while backing away.

The offending bear in the 2012 attacks still hasn’t been found, but officials are keeping an eye out for it.

“If he is still out there, he’s likely to return to doing what he knows, which happens to be raiding campgrounds and causing these kinds of problems,” said Randy Babb, information and education program manager for Game and Fish’s Mesa region.

Hohl noted that the possibility of running into a bear is remote.

“Mostly what you see of bears is their butts because they’re usually running away,” she said. “That being said, it’s important to remember that as humans, we’re guests in a bear’s environment.”

 

 

Authorities Nab Bear That Mauled Camper

September 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on Authorities Nab Bear That Mauled Camper 

An autopsy has confirmed that wildlife agents shot and killed the same black bear responsible for mauling a man who was camped in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area on Sept. 14, officials with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) said Monday.

An investigation by FWP and U.S. Forest Service officials tied the 185-pound male bear to the mauling, and determined that the animal had displayed predatory behavior, probably as a result of being conditioned to human food, The Missoulian reported.

FWP Investigator Brian Sommers reports that a number of food items found in the bear’s stomach were consistent with food at the camp, which the bear consumed after the initial attack. These included pieces of ziplock bags and dried pasta, he said.

Sommers also said that when agents went into the camp to dispatch the bear Friday afternoon, the bear displayed behavior consistent with conditioning and habituation to human food. The bear was killed approximately 70 yards from the scene of the attack, and was in the process of moving back toward the tent where the attack occurred.

“This was a predatory attack by this black bear,” Sommers said.

Blood was swabbed from the claws of the bear and will be tested to confirm a tie to the unidentified victim, he said, while traces of pepper spray were detected on the bear’s fur.

According to FWP Warden Sgt. Jon Obst, who interviewed the victim about the circumstances of the attack, the bear jumped on the man’s tent at about 7:30 a.m. in the Black Bear Creek area of the Bob Marshall.

The bear collapsed the shelter, tore through the fabric and then began to maul the man. The man then sprayed the bear with bear-specific pepper spray and the animal ceased its attack.

The bear remained in the area until a Forest Service employee and other trail-crew members arrived and hazed the bear off, and an ALERT helicopter flew the victim to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

“The No. 1 message is have your bear spray ready and accessible,” said Chuck Bartlebaugh, the director of the Center for Wildlife Information’s Be Bear Aware campaign in Missoula. “We recommend having it right by your flashlight and having a knife nearby in case you have to cut your way out of the tent.”

After the bear was killed by an FWP response team that flew into the area by helicopter, all the food items and gear left behind at the camp were removed. Usable items were returned to the family of the man, who officials say is recovering from the attack.

 

Authorities Nab Wrong Bears; Attacker Still At Large

July 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on Authorities Nab Wrong Bears; Attacker Still At Large 

Genetic testing has indicated the bear that severely injured a man last month remains on the loose, clearing all three bears killed by state hunters after a string of three attacks near campgrounds south of Highway 260 near Christopher Creek in central Arizona.

Officials said they would re-evaluate the order that closed Ponderosa, Sharp Creek and Christopher Creek campgrounds on July 15, the Payson Roundup reported.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say they have yet to make contact with a black bear that pulled a 30-year-old Tempe man from his tent by the scalp June 24 at Ponderosa Campground.

Officials didn’t have enough DNA samples from the bears that attacked two other campers earlier to tie any of the attacks to the three bears killed after hounds picked up their scents in Tonto Village or near the Ponderosa Campground shortly after the attack.

Meanwhile, game and fish officials and sheriff’s deputies have fielded a number of reports of bear sightings in Christopher Creek, East Valley Estates and elsewhere — but have reported no fresh attacks or conflicts.

Jim Paxon, chief of information with game and fish, said two game officers are still patrolling the areas around Ponderosa Campground and Thompson Draw, but have not sighted any bears. The officers have set out baited traps near the campgrounds, but so far haven’t caught any any bears.

“The Forest Service is going to have to decide if it is going to reopen the campgrounds if we don’t have a bear in hand by the 15th,” he said. “I don’t know what they will do.”

The Forest Service briefly closed Ponderosa after a bear clawed its way through a couple’s tent May 31. A woman sleeping inside was clawed on the head.

On June 21, a bear bit a man sleeping in a garage in the Thompson Draw II subdivision a mile from the campground. The bear’s teeth barely penetrated the man’s leg.

Then on June 24, a bear pulled Peter Baca from his tent, barely missing a 1-year-old child also sleeping in the tent. Baca underwent surgeries but should recover.

Game officers tracked and killed three bears, two young males and an adult female. However, the DNA sample cleared all three in the Baca attack. Officials have no way to determine whether any of the bears had any role in the other two attacks because they didn’t leave behind useable traces of DNA.

Paxton said the bear in the Baca attack displayed such aggressive behavior that game and fish must find a way to kill it.

“We have a real need to collect this bear because the attack on Mr. Baca was severe and we need to get this bear in hand.”

Game and fish set up traps, snares and a baiting station near Ponderosa Campground.

A sharp rise in the number of bear sighting calls has demonstrated a lot of bears remain in the area, but game and fish says it is having trouble finding them.

A good dose of rain could solve most of the problems, said Paxton. “The big problem is until we get the monsoons and grow some foliage, there isn’t anything for the bears to eat,” he said.

“We are really asking the public to their keep guard up.”

If a bear crosses your path, get big and make lots of noise. Move away slowly and refrain from running. Officials estimate there is a bear in every 1 1/2 to 2 square miles in Rim Country.

“We have a very vigorous bear population in Arizona,” he said. “They are important to the ecology, but they need to be acting like bears are supposed to.”

 

DNA Test: 2 of 3 Bears Guiltless in June 24 Attack

June 29, 2012 by · Comments Off on DNA Test: 2 of 3 Bears Guiltless in June 24 Attack 

DNA results on two of three black bears killed by Arizona Game and Fish officers confirmed that neither of the bears was involved in Sunday’s (June 24) attack at the Ponderosa Campground, KPHO-TV, Phoenix, reported

Lab technicians could not say if the bears were involved in other attacks on May 31 and June 21 because there wasn’t enough DNA material on those victims’ belongings to draw at a conclusion.

Testing of bear hair samples from Sunday’s attack confirmed that the bear in that case is a male. Specialists said additional DNA analysis is under way using different samples from that incident in attempt to arrive at a more conclusive decision.

“We meticulously attempted to remove any available DNA samples from the first two victims’ personal belongings and submitted quite a few hairs, said Dr. Anne Justice-Allen, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s wildlife veterinarian.

“Unfortunately, the samples were hair that was shed, not plucked or pulled, which means there was no root and no DNA material,” Justice-Allen said. “So, it could be that one of the bears removed was involved in one or both of the first two attacks.”

The analysis was done by the nationally recognized Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Forensics and Fish Health Laboratory in Laramie, Wyo.

Wildlife officers from Game and Fish and personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services killed the three black bears in the past week in the vicinity around where the attacks occurred. Dogs tracked them from scent trails found near the site of the attacks.

Rabies tests carried out by the Arizona Department of Health Services on all three animals came back negative.

The first and third attack occurred on May 31 and June 24, respectively, at the Ponderosa Campground 10 miles east of Payson. The second attack took place on June 21 in Tonto Village, the Thompson Draw II subdivision, which is approximately one mile north of the Ponderosa Campground.

A 74-year-old female camper was attacked May 31 and a 30-year-old Tempe man was attacked June 24 in the same area. The June 21 attack injured Jason Amperse, 29, of Glendale, who asleep in a cabin under construction near Payson. He suffered a bite mark on his right leg and claw marks on his left leg.

Tonto National Forest officials have temporarily closed all six campgrounds in the Payson ranger district until at least July 15 because of the bear attacks.

 

3 Bears Suspected in Attacks Test Negative for Rabies

June 28, 2012 by · Comments Off on 3 Bears Suspected in Attacks Test Negative for Rabies 

DNA tests on three black bears that were killed near Payson have come back negative for the rabies virus, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, AZFamily.com reported.

The bears are thought to be connected to three attacks in the Payson area in the last month, but officials are awaiting separate DNA test results for confirmation. If any of the bears are matched to the attacks, then the victims won’t need a series of rabies vaccines.

Rabies testing was necessary to determine if the victims were exposed to the virus and can only be conducted on a deceased animal, making it necessary to lethally remove the bears.

Rabies is almost always fatal if an exposed person doesn’t get a vaccine in time.

A 74-year-old woman sleeping in a tent in the Ponderosa Campground was attacked May 31. A construction worker was attacked June 21 while he was sleeping in an unfinished cabin in the Thompson Draw II community near Tonto Village. A 30-year-old Tempe man was attacked by a bear June 24 while sleeping in a tent in the Ponderosa Campground.

The Ponderosa, Christopher Creek and Sharp Creek campgrounds, all located along Highway 260, will remain closed until the Arizona Game and Fish Department feels confident campers are safe from further bear attacks.

Drought, Wildfires Force Bears into Campgrounds

June 27, 2012 by · Comments Off on Drought, Wildfires Force Bears into Campgrounds 

The following story is courtesy of KPHO-TV, Phoenix.

The recent string of bear attacks in Arizona’s high country has some folks re-thinking their camping trips for the holiday. It has everyone asking: Is it safe to go camping?

“You can see how strong these guys are,” said Linda Searles with the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. “They decide, they know, that if they go into that campground, they’re going to be rewarded.”

She said the bears like fish and fruit and they love peanut butter. But bears are going after much more than what’s in your camping pantry.

“We have three confirmed attacks since May 31,” said Tim Holt with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

They’re going after people. And three bears have been killed because of it. Arizona Game and Fish Department officials don’t yet know if the bears were involved in the attacks, but they aren’t taking any chances.

“Until we can get that evidence and the bears analyzed, we will continue to search for additional bears,” he said.

On May 31, a sleeping camper was attacked at the Ponderosa Campground.

On Thursday night, a man sleeping in an unfinished cabin near Payson was attacked.

And Sunday morning, a man sleeping next to his fiancée and infant son was attacked at the Ponderosa campground and is in a hospital in critical condition.

“Everything, any food source is going to attract bears right now,” Searles said.

She added that with the fires in Arizona and the drought, bears are going into campgrounds looking for food. With that in mind, is it safe to enjoy the high country this summer?

“Just as if you were going to another country, you want to educate yourself on the culture and what was out there on the locals,” she said. “Well, you go out into the forest, these are the locals!”

She added you must be smart about camping. Bring bear-proof containers, don’t wear fragrant deodorants or perfumes and avoid the Ponderosa area in the meantime.

For more information on bear safety, visit: http://www.azgfd.gov/ and http://southwestwildlife.org/.

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