All About Bears!
February 29 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PST
All About Bears
On Saturday February 29th at 1pm, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Officer Nick Jorg, who you may have seen on Animal Planet, will be at the Northwest Stream Center presenting a very lively and entertaining presentation All About Bears in Washington State.
His partner Colter, above, and new assistant Freyja, below, are Karelian Bear Dogs who will steal the show. There job is to help resolve bear/people conflicts. To learn more about these great dogs go to wdfw.wa.gov and type “bear dogs” in the search bar.
In Washington State, black bears live in a diverse array of forested habitats, from coastal rainforests to the dry woodlands of the Cascades’ eastern slopes. In general, black bears are strongly associated with forest cover, but they do occasionally use open country, such as forest clearings and the fringes of other open habitat. Black bears are found throughout Washington State. Also, much to the surprise of most Washingtonians, there are a few grizzly bears in the State who reside in the North Cascades!
As you might expect, the black bear population in Washington is much larger than the grizzly population. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are between 25,000 and 30,000 black bears in the State. As human populations encroach on black bear habitat, people and bears have greater chances of encountering each other. Bears usually avoid people, but when bears and people come into close proximity, the bear’s strength and surprising speed can make for a dangerous situation.
Occasional confrontations with bears are the result of a surprise encounter at close range. However, most conflicts result from people living in bear country carelessly attracting bears with improperly contained garbage or pet food outside their homes. And to most people’s surprise, they are also attracted to bird feeders! Bears have a great sense of smell. The average dog’s sense of smell is 100 times better than humans. A bloodhound is 300 times better. A bear’s sense of smell is 7 times better than a bloodhound or 2,100 times better than a human. If you are in bear country, chances are that the local bears will smell you coming their way! And bird feeders in bear country are an invitation for bears to come to dinner.
All bears should be given plenty of respect and room to retreat without feeling threatened. Officer Jorg spends most of his time addressing these conflicts. “In the old days, we used to capture problem bears and relocate them to a different area.” says Jorg. “We learned that the bears did not fare to well and, now, we capture bears near where there is a conflict with people and then enlist the aid of our bear dogs to help us scare the bears and make them understand that contact with people is not a good idea.”
Jorg says that, “During the show, we are going to teach everyone about bear habits and habitat requirements. Then we will go over all the Do’s and Don’ts in Bear Country. At the end of the show, we are going to a simulate a bear capture, and invite the audience to help Colter ‘scare the bear’ (a WDFW staffer in a bear skin) away from the NW Stream Center.”
Above and below are WDFW photos of the real thing with Colter and a buddy ready to chase a very large bear!!!
This Streamkeeper Academy event will be fun for the whole family – but be prepared – you could get your face licked by one of the bear dogs! Advance reservations are required by calling 425-316-8592; $5 Adopt A Stream Foundation members, $7 non-members.