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Do feed the bears??

Champaign, Illinois
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Do feed the bears??

…nationalgeographic.com/news/…

I saw this article and found it interesting. What do you think?

Disclaimer:

* yes, I know you're not supposed to feed the bears.*

Boston...
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1. Re: Do feed the bears??

I think this is the opposite of the feeding we are commanded not to do. The feeding we would do would be in populated areas or backcountry campsites, places we don't want bears. But if we're helping them out where they won't be in undue contact with people, that's a different thing. I think it could be a good idea if very carefully researched and tested out slowly. In general I think habitat destruction and people feeding bears is the problem. But this might work in isolated situations like the ruined acorn crop of a couple years back.

Thanks for the article!

Edited: 5:55 pm, July 21, 2010
Ohio
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2. Re: Do feed the bears??

"We've done a really poor job, in many cases, of developing land
 without taking into account animal migration and feeding patterns," 
said Mazur, who works in Nevada's Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

"And feeding them will, of course, reduce conflict in the 
short term. But what are we trying to protect? If we're trying to
 protect black bears as a species, I believe we should be protecting
 everything about them—their ecology, habitat, and natural movement."

The above is obviously the key problem. Barring that-- supplementing thier food supply to keep them away from town is probably better than the learned behavior of coming into town to forage? I don't know-- Good article. I don't know the answer, but it is good fodder for thought. Thanks for posting it.

Charleston
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3. Re: Do feed the bears??

I think it makes sense, but it would (like the article suggests) need to be done by professionals, who can keep the feeding in one area away from the public. I don't think the public should be feeding wild animals at all (well, with the exception of little old ladies and bird feeding:.)

Raymond

http://gosmoky.wordpress.com

Mississippi
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4. Re: Do feed the bears??

Well, I'm far from being an expert in any shape or form, but I can tell you from witnessing the feeding of deer down here that it could turn into a nightmare.

We all know a well fed bear is going to produce more offspring from seeing the results of plentiful ground mast. More offspring can be a good thing unless it involves more contact with humans, There are more issues involved than just bears getting into garbage.

These days in Mississippi, the deer are so plentiful you can't drive down the road just before sunrise without a near collision in many areas. These are areas that have has established human residency for quite some time. While this is due somewhat to resident development, it can also be attributed to hunters planting deer plots all over the place and distributing corn on a regular basis to the area in which they hunt.

Another problem that this brings upon us is that the deer do not travel enough distance to forage. This results in inter-breeding, and makes them more susceptible to diseases. Could this occur with bears? I don't know, but it's worth examining. The hunters are also less likely to be hunting for meat these days, but will pass on many smaller deer to get that Trophy Buck. Add that to the fact that there are no "natural" predators like the panther used to be,..and we have what we have,,,deer all over the sides of the roads, both dead and living.

IMO, less involvement is our best first choice. I'm skeptical of anything beyond that.

nashville
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5. Re: Do feed the bears??

>>IMO, less involvement is our best first choice. I'm skeptical of anything beyond that.

amen! food shortage is a natural thinning of the herd. this guy's idea is just kicking the can down the road and it furthers the bears' associating people with food.

not a good idea.

Boston...
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6. Re: Do feed the bears??

I think the point is that by putting the food way out into the woods the bears *wouldn't* associate the food with people. But I agree that might just throw everything out of whack.

Not that destroying the much of the habitat in the East didn't throw things out of whack. But in this case we're dealing with a wilderness large enough that the critters can live more or less normal existences. Until they run into the surrounding towns area, particularly Gatlinburg, or are fed or approached.

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Ohio
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7. Re: Do feed the bears??

yeah-- it's a tough one. I lean towards not interferring and letting nature take it's course, but.... sometimes that's not entirely possible and particularly when humans keep encrouching on the animals natural habitat.

The answer is truly to not infringe, but... that's just not going to happen. I went to the Gatlinburg area for the first time a couple of years ago and was amazed at the over run of cabins. And more going up all the time.... Good grief! Enough is enough. I am now watching Hocking Hills near where I live go the same route. Cabins used to be secluded and sparse but once they realized they could make a buck.... the cabins have popped up like weeds. Any given Friday you can find many cabins still available. Used to be that you'd have to reserve pretty far in advance. It's slowly being detroyed with tacky attractions and over run with cabins.

Okay, okay-- off my soap box :)

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Gatlinburg
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Boston...
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8. Re: Do feed the bears??

Does seem to defeat the purpose, doesn't it?

Ohio
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9. Re: Do feed the bears??

In a word... YES!

We went to Yellowstone last fall. Had never been. WHAT a cool place! The wildlife comes first, period-- we are just visitors and you will constantly be reminded of that by the rangers (politely). Fortunately, it's so vast that civilization really cannot encrouch upon it. And for whatever reason-- there's really not alot of build up even just outside the park. Small towns only. Perhaps because it is so huge... you really have to stay inside the park to enjoy it? Not like the Smokies where it's easily accessible for the day? Not sure. Or maybe it's just too gosh dern cold up there in Wyoming to become a tourist mecca outside the park? LOL And they leave the park pretty much alone too. Not alot of places to stay and not a fancy place to be had. No AC, no phone, no internet, no tv.... I loved it! Sometimes, the government gets it right inspite of itself :) Have you been out there Blue? as an adult? If not... I hope you get the chance. I think you'll fall in love.

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Mississippi
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10. Re: Do feed the bears??

Yellowstone is indeed so large,...I stayed out there a week and couldn't cover it and The Grand Tetons National Park. And to think Yellowstone actually has lodging (hotels) in the park, unlike GSMNP. Can't wait to get back there someday.

The sheer size, and the lack of population density is what sets it apart. While they have heavy visitation in the summer, you can only access the place by snowmobile in winter, so I guess that eliminates heavy traffic, though you have the skiers in Jackson Hole.

I understand the point blue,..about putting the food "way" out in the woods,..but it still infringes on the bear's natural foraging instincts and patterns. Like I've observed in other animals, like the moose, the foraging becomes generational. A mother will teach them the patterns in which they move and forage, establishing these same habits with the young. I might be comparing apples and oranges, but I don't think it's too outrageous to believe that a bear in the wild would become a bear in a circus with trees after developing these feeding patterns, drawn to some box of sunflower seeds or whatever "soup of the day" that's put out for them.

People will end up buying those big cattle bumpers to prevent totaling their vehicles as they drive through the park. And talk about setting the bear up for poachers,..they'll know right where to look and at the exact time of day.

Just a bad idea.

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