Chris Servheen, USFWS coordinator on Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, says strategies to prevent bear-human conflict work, but aren’t being used.

Grizzly. Courtesy National Park Service.

Montana 11/30/11 missoulian.com: by Rob Chaney – The death of Brian Matayoshi in a grizzly bear charge last summer was a classic conundrum for the people who work toward the day bears and humans can share the northern Rocky Mountains. “We are providing education, but it’s not being received,” Chris Servheen told the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee at its winter meeting in Missoula on Wednesday. As coordinator for grizzly recovery with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Servheen keeps track of bear incidents throughout the Rocky Mountains. And this year’s run-ins appear to show we have successful strategies to avoid conflict, but we’re not using them. “The problem with communication is the illusion it’s actually happening,” Servheen said of bear-aware efforts. “My candid opinion is we have not been very successful at this at all. Perhaps we need to go to a marketing firm on Madison Avenue – they’re really good at getting us to buy things we don’t need or want.”

A preliminary review of 2011 bear attacks included 83 incidents. Of those, about three quarters took place in the Yellowstone National Park area, with the remaining 24 percent happening in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. Four times out of five, no one in a grizzly charge got injured. Two resulted in people getting killed. Hunters were involved in 38 percent of the charges, while hikers made up 35 percent. The remainder included a mix of anglers, campers, ranch-hands doing fencing and other backcountry chores. Servheen said a significant factor was that more than half the people charged by grizzlies weren’t carrying bear spray. Just 29 percent were carrying the spray cans, although it was uncertain if they were deployed. – For complete article go to http://missoulian.com/news/local/strategies-to-prevent-bear-human-conflicts-work-but-aren-t/article_37f674e4-1bca-11e1-9676-001cc4c002e0.html

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One response to “Chris Servheen, USFWS coordinator on Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, says strategies to prevent bear-human conflict work, but aren’t being used.

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