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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

encounter with (grizzly) bear

Nearer Agra, I have seen ‘Balu the bear’ chained and being taken on roads like street dogs ! – they looked far different from what we have read about them – still fearsome !!

There are different varieties - Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos ssp.), less commonly known as the silvertip bear, is a large subspecies of brown bear inhabiting North America.  There are subspecies inhabiting other parts of the World too.  Wiki mentions that Lewis and William Clark named it to be grisley or "grizzly", which could have meant "grizzled" (that is, golden and grey tips of the hair) or "fear-inspiring” – back home at Agra and elsewhere, the ones I saw had iron chains on their noses ! – this is no post on the animal and its subspecies – but about a collision – nay, not the one of Marine adventure – on a sea, ships and boats running aground, not about the road accidents between vehicles on busy killer roads.  It is more of an accidental collision between man and bear – the way the death is analysed and taken to a conclusion is amazing and worth reading !

Montana is a State in the Western Region of US and Great falls is a city.  There is a report that  Forest Service law enforcement officer Brad Treat was fatally mauled by a grizzly bear after accidentally surprising and colliding with the animal while mountain biking, the Board of Review Report has determined. The board released its findings on the June 29 incident and made safety recommendations this week.

According to the report, Treat was mountain biking with a friend on the “Outer Trail” of the Green Gate Trails in the Flathead National Forest. Between 1:30 and 2 p.m. MT, Treat collided with a grizzly bear with his bike at a high rate of speed after rounding a blind curve on the trail. Treat had access to the trails system from his house and was reported to jog the trails with his wife almost every morning. Treat mountain biked on the trails four to six times a week. Treat’s wife, Somer, described him as competitive and said he often tried to beat his previous times as he traveled the route. Treat was estimated to be going 20 to 25 mph, giving him only one or two seconds after rounding the corner to see the bear. The investigation found no signs of skidding or evasive steering, indicating Treat did not immediately see the bear and hit him at full speed.

The collision hurled Treat into and then over the handlebars of his bike and either onto or over the bear. The investigation indicated the impact caused Treat to break both of his wrists and his left shoulder blade as he tried to break his fall with his hands.  A  companion who rode around the curve saw the bear standing over Treat, who was laying on the trail. The bear was described as “very big, brownish-black in color, lighter than black” with its hair “bristled up.” The companion reported waiting about 30 seconds as he tried to figure out what to do. Neither Treat nor his companion had bear spray, firearms or cellphones with them. The companion said the bear was “intent and focused on Mr. Treat,” and did not turn to look at the companion when he came into sight. The companion decided to turn around and head back up the trail the way they came to seek help because he did not feel comfortable trying to get the bear off of Treat.

The initial investigators found the victim and his bike in the trail at the collision site. Treat’s helmet was beside his body and was reported to be bitten to pieces by the bear. Treat was dead when responders arrived.

Twelve hair and swab samples were taken from the bicycle helmet and the victim. The hairs were tested for their genotype and found to belong to an 18- to 20-year-old male grizzly with no history of human-bear conflict. The bear had been captured once in May 2006 during a research project in Glacier National Park. At that time, the bear was estimated to weigh 370 pounds. Though this is the first time someone in Montana has been killed by a bear while mountain biking, Servheen said bikers do occasionally encounter bears.

Away in Canada, a B.C.court has fined a farmer over the 2014 shooting deaths of a grizzly bear sow and its three cubs in a mountain valley between Prince George and Jasper, Alta. Arlan Harry Baer must pay a $500 fine and a $1,500 payment to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "In a perfect world, we would never get these sort of court awards, because these sort of infractions would never take place," said Brian Springinotic, CEO of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "Court awards paid to us at least let that money find its way back to the geographic region or the types of species and habitat impacted ... as a way of mitigating damage done by the offender." The court may earmark the money for projects related to grizzly conservation. The case began in September of 2014 with a public complaint about the death of the bears. "Grizzly bears are considered a threatened species in this province," said Sgt. Rory Smith, of the B.C. Conservation Service, who was part of a two year investigation. "Yes, it is significant."

Baer, who raises Holstein dairy cows on his family farm, was eventually charged with six offenses under the Wildlife Act. They included hunting without a bear licence, killing out of season, resisting or obstructing an officer, unlawful possession of dead wildlife, and failure to state the date or location of wildlife killed.  In Provincial court, Baer pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to report the killing or wounding of wildlife. The remaining five charges were stayed. "We do not want to be losing ... females. They are very, very slow reproducing, especially as you get into the Interior of the province and off the salmon streams. We do not want to be losing or killing adult females," said wildlife consultant Lana Ciarniello.

Another report adds that historically, there were around 50,000 grizzly bears in North America. Today, there are an estimated 1,800 grizzly bears remaining in five populations in the lower 48 states. Most of these bears are located in the Northern Continental Divide Population (including Glacier National Park) and the Yellowstone Population. Alaska is home to a healthy grizzly (sometimes called brown bear) population.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th Mar 2017


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