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Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Bear Story

I was going to post about our desert trip today but something else has taken precedence. The bears around here started appearing on my trail cameras in early April. At first, I saw only the big males, Tiny and Milton. More recently, other bears have made appearances.

This uniquely marked young bear appeared at a bear-marking tree on May 7. The black "socks" and the black ridge on his spine are rare.
For those of you who have followed this blog for a while, you might notice that this bear looks a bit like "Socks", the lightly colored bear with black legs. The difference is that this bear has a dark ridge along his spine.
Socks did not have that ridge of black fur on her spine last summer so I'm really hoping that the May 7th bear is not Socks. Here is Socks last summer with no ridge on her back.
Two summers ago, my trail cameras caught the breakup of Socks from her mother at the start of mating season when a big male was following her mother around. So, I feel like we know Socks, and I hope that she's okay.

The reason for my worry is that a bear was recently killed in town for entering apartments looking for food. That bear looked remarkably like the bear who my trail camera photographed on May 7. The photo below is from the local newspaper, depicting the bear who was shot soon thereafter.

Up here in the mountains, my trail cameras are documenting that the bear activity level is zooming upward. I'm capturing cool photos and videos of the start of bear mating season. I'll share them soon. But, for today, I'd rather that we all think about how to share our world with bears in a safe way, locking our doors so bears can't get in and taking all the other standard precautions.

To end this post on a happier note, while we were in the desert, the flowers were blooming, looking so delicate against the harsh desert landscape.
Of course, my girl Shyla was blooming too!
I have this feeling that Shyla finally "gets it". She's going to be a part our family forever, and she seems to be glowing in that knowledge.


  1. KB- Have you ruled mange out? It looks to me, that this bear is experiencing a thinning of the fur. Socks is a bicolored bear, but this one looks like he's balding, except paws and spine! What do you think?

  2. PS- I just landed a summer position with NY State's lead bear biologist :)

  3. It always makes me so sad when I hear about wildlife that blunders into "human's" territory and dies as a result. So not fair.

  4. I was listening to CBC radio in Canada in the last week or so and one of the former park rangers (i believe) was talking about how important it is for people to learn to get along with bears more. What I thought was very interesting in his story was his sister had been killed by a bear and yet he was working so hard to protect them. We need to love all our creatures and change our habits to help keep the bears out of our garbage etc so we can all live safely together.

  5. Are they short of natural food , to go so close to civilisation? I would hope they could be captured safely and returned to their own areas.What a super shot of Shyla, and flowers in the barren areas, beautiful. Greetings from Jean

  6. I've made three comments about the bear, but get so mad, I erase them, so just let me say the flower shot is incredible.

  7. I feel so badly for the bear...humans really can screw things up.
    Shyla is looking beautiful, so happy to hear that she's coming into her own.

  8. We are sad for the poor bear. We only have stuffed ones here, but we think they all should be treated well.

  9. I wish everyone would keep food put away too - so it does not tempt the bears.
    Shyla is so beautiful and the flower too

  10. I think the town bear that was shot was your camera bear. A wild guess might be that he just wasn't getting enough to eat with all the snow you have had, causing hair loss.

    Too bad if that is so!

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  11. Your girl should glow...she is the luckiest pup ever to have found such a wonderful committed family in such an amazing environment.

    As to the bear, we too, have those incidents once or twice a year and they break my heart. It should not be a matter of every confrontation between man and nature means a loss for nature; there HAS to be a way for man to live peaceably in the world.

  12. I love Shyla's glow!

    So sad about the bear :( I really wish that Fish and Wildlife, or Police, or Whoever Is In Charge was actually wise and well funded and knew how to deal with situations concerning bears, or deer, or whatever else, without use of deadly force.

    If wishes were horses, right?

  13. Glowing is the right word.

  14. We hope it isn't your bear....but it looks suspiciously like it.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  15. Shyla is certainly radiating and may she blossom as the Spring flower.

    Captivating photography.

  16. sad about the bear.....and such an unusual color pattern....
    shyla looks cool and confident!

  17. We are so sad that shooting the bear was how they decided to handle it. I saw a story on the news this week about a young bear who was roaming a neighborhood in CT. The reporter said the officials decided the bear was no threat to anyone and let him/her find the way back to the woods. He has since disappeared.

    Shyla is just beautiful and we can't imagine why she would ever want to be anywhere but by your side.

    Have a great holiday weekend.

  18. So exciting! And I think Socks is gorgeous!

  19. We hope the bear that was killed wasn't Socks.

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  20. I Think its the same bear....
    Shyla is a Beauty. I have 4 beauties here...they grow very fast and its a lot of activity now

  21. Glad you finished with such a great Shyla photograph. People who endanger the bears by being careless really make me angry. We've already had some of the Blue Ridge Parkway picnic areas closed because stupid people leave food around and the bears keep coming back. And some of those idiots think they are "helping" the bears!


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