Friday, June 18, 2010

Life in the Wild

This young bear was spotted wandering through downtown Asheville a few weeks ago. No one was hurt and lots of folks were treated to a close encounter with a bear! (Photos courtesy of Asheville Citizen Times.)

There have been lots of reports this year of black bears in town already. Two goats and one dog have died locally from bear attacks. Click on the words for the local newspaper story about them. The bear population is on the rise here and so is the human population - not good for the bears. Last fall less food was available for the bears to store up for hibernation so they woke up hungry this spring.

We had a bear try to get into our screen porch last year late at night. We have hog wire nailed to the wood frame under the screen and that kept the bear out. I have not put bird feeders out except for the hummingbird one this year and keep the cat food inside.

Yesterday I went off to town to a doctor appointment and was only gone 2 hours from 1pm until 3pm. When I got home the screen was all torn off the porch yet again - with rips and holes in the screen. Looks like he tried to pull on the hog wire but it held thank God. My cats like to use the porch and they would have gotten out or possibly hurt by the bear who was most likely looking for the dry cat food.

I put the screen back up and booby trapped the area next to is with metal wire tomato cages, trellises and poles hoping it will deter him if he gets caught in it. Plus it will make noise. This looks like it will be a long summer for us and bears. Our neighbors have lots of livestock but also have I do pity the poor bear who messes with any of them.

Below are tips from the local police about how to handle any encounters with bears -

- If a black bear attacks you, fight back. Punch, kick, scratch — whatever you can do to discourage the bear.
- Bear pepper spray can be effective in an attack.
- Don't leave garbage cans outside. Bears can smell food sources from way off and will make a habit of visiting the cans daily.
- Never feed bears. It helps eliminate their natural fear of humans and can lead to problems that ultimately result in bears being put down.
- Don't leave pet food outdoors.
- Bird and squirrel feeders also will entice bears.
- Bears have excellent memories, so if you only move the trash or food inside for a few days, the bears likely will come back in a few weeks to check.

Be careful out there folks! For more animal posts please visit Camera Critters!

UPDATE - Mr Bear returned two days later at the same time! I was home and went to go outdoors and noticed the screen all down again. This time we reinforced the screen with boards across the middle of the frame and set up ladders, trellises and all sorts of things to make it impossible for him to squeeze in next to the porch without knocking things down on himself! Hope this works!


Kea said...

Whew, that's life in the wild, all right. I'm glad none of the kitties was hurt! Kind of scary.

There have been 3 cases in the news in the past week or two where 3 wild animals have been killed (including moose) because gee, no one could get wildlife people out to tranquilize the animals and move them to safety. Really, really angers me, since it's we humans that have encroached on *their* territory, not the other way around. But I'll stop ranting now....

Old Kitty said...

Oh I'm so glad to hear your fencing held up to the bear attack and that your kitties are safe! Bit purrs to all your sweeties!!!

I do feel sorry for the bears though. I hope that there are studies/research going on as to why the bears are hungrier and more visible this time? I'm just presuming this wasn't such problem say last year?

It's always the case I think that the bears need to survive and their territories are shrinking while humans expand further. I always like to think that there is a happy compromise for both. I hope so. Because the bears and wild animals always lose when it comes down to it and really a world without wilderness is quite barren and very sad!

Take care

Denise said...

A very interesting post with some great advice just in case we need it. I have never seen a bear but would like to one day, maybe this close. Poor bear is slowing losing its natural habitat isn't it but I hope everyone can learn to live together in a way that they all stay safe, two-legged and four-legged.

I took some photos of a momma raccoon investigating my bird feeders. If you have the time to stop by, my post is right here,

Carletta said...

I always look forward to going to the Smokies and hopefully sighting a bear which we usually see but I've never thought about having to live near a population of them and deal with them as you do.
I also didn't know that had such good memory.
Wonderful post!

(Carletta's Captures)

Tink *~*~* said...

We've had a few bear sightings down here in the Fort Myers area of Florida this spring. Usually it's the younger ones who show themselves - I think the older ones know better by now!

Tink *~*~*

jabblog said...

That's a very worrying situation all round. I hope your summer is less stressful than you anticipate.

LadyFi said...

bears in town - how wonderful and scary!

Hannah and Lucy said...

How scary for the kitties when the bear showed up and you were out. Purrs to all of you. xxx

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Now that is scary! So glad you did a good job of protecting your porch and your cats.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I have heard that the bear population is on the rise all over. They are having a difficult time up near Yellowstone. It can be very scary so it's good to have your tips. Be careful.

Atticmag said...

That's a wonderful post. We hear rumors about them and we've seen a coyote down in back but the bears don't usually come down to the river (we won't tell them about our beavers). Thanks for stopping by. Jane F.


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