CANADA: BLACK BEAR swats BRITISH COLUMBIAN relaxing in hot tub ~ SOUTH DAKOTA youngster dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ CALIFORNIA counties alerted to very early and intense WEST NILE VIRUS activity.

Black bear. Photo by Hans Stieglitz. Wikimedia Commons.


British Columbia 06/04/12 by Kelly Sinoski – Conservation officers are trying to figure out why a black bear would swat a man relaxing in a Whistler hot tub and then pace outside the patio window after his victim fled to safety inside. The man, a 55-year-old from Coquitlam, was alone in the hot tub with his back to the forest when he was hit in the back of the head and was pitched forward into the tub. When he looked up he was “face to face” with a mature male bear. He yelled and ran inside the timeshare condo in the 4800-block of Casabella Crescent. But the bear, rather than running away, lingered, and paced outside the window for a few minutes until police arrived, said conservation officer Chris Doyle. The bruin, a healthy male, was found about 100 metres away, in an area between Highway 99 and Casabella Crescent, and killed. “Attacks on people are rare but they do happen for various reasons,” Doyle said. “This one is a little more unusual in that the bear put itself in the position of injuring [the man] for no apparent reason.” The man, who suffered three cuts to his head, was taken to the Whistler Health Care Centre for treatment. His wife, who had been in the house at the time, was unharmed. Conservation officers are interviewing witnesses while a necropsy will be performed on the bear in an attempt to determine the motivation for the attack.

Tony Webb, chairman of the North Shore Black Bear Society, said bears are often attracted to hot tub covers, which often give off a scent that is similar to an ants nest. But Doyle noted the bear wasn’t interested in the hot tub and deliberately injured the man. He also said there was no indication the bear had been feeding on garbage and there were no attractants in the area. “We may not ever know for sure [what happened] because obviously we don’t know what the bear was thinking but we’ll use our expertise and knowledge to try to find out.” Whistler RCMP St.-Sgt Steve LeClair said bear attacks are rare. A person was swatted by a bear in Whistler a few years ago, he said, but they got too close and the bear felt cornered.

South Dakota 06/04/12 by Kristi Eaton – A wake was held Monday for the first person on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to die from hantavirus, while Ogala Sioux officials met to discuss what could be done to educate tribal members about the disease spread by rodents. Oglala Sioux President John Yellow Bird Steele said in a news release that hantavirus was confirmed last week as the cause of the girl’s death. People can get hantavirus from contact with rodents or their waste, and it can eventually lead to respiratory failure. Steele expressed sympathy for the victim’s family and called on a variety of tribal programs and organizations “to immediately lend their support in whatever way possible to ensure that this tragedy does not strike again.” In South Dakota, the disease is most often spread by deer mice, according to the state Department of Health. A department spokeswoman confirmed it had received a report that a Shannon County girl age 10 or younger had died Wednesday and lab tests confirmed hantavirus as the cause Friday. Sonia Weston, chairperson of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Health & Human Services Committee, said in a statement that she had scheduled an emergency meeting with all health-related tribal programs and dealing with the issue would be the No. 1 health priority on the reservation.

The first case of hantavirus in the United States was detected in 1993. In that case, a young, physically fit man began suffering from a shortness of breath and was rushed to a New Mexico hospital, where he died soon after, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While reviewing the results of the case, researchers learned that the man’s fiancée had died a few days earlier after exhibiting many of the same symptoms. Rodents shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. That material can be stirred with tiny dust particles and inhaled. Hantavirus is not spread through person-to-person contact, and rodent control is important to preventing the spread of the disease, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. Through 2011, there were 587 reported cases of the disease in the United States, including 16 in South Dakota and 12 in North Dakota, according to the CDC.

California 06/04/12 Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District: News Release – Further evidence of West Nile virus activity has been detected throughout Sacramento County as  32 new mosquito samples and 4 birds  have tested positive for the disease. The birds and mosquito samples have been collected from different areas in Sacramento County especially focused in communities near Gerber and Calvine Rd.  “We’re very concerned about the level of intense activity we’re seeing this season” said David Brown, District Manager. “While it’s not uncommon to find widespread areas with dead birds and mosquito samples in August, finding virus activity in June is certainly earlier than anything we’ve seen in recent years and we urge residents to take these early indications seriously” he added. West Nile virus activity was also detected last week in the city of Davis in Yolo County as dead birds and mosquito samples also tested positive. – For complete release see


One response to “CANADA: BLACK BEAR swats BRITISH COLUMBIAN relaxing in hot tub ~ SOUTH DAKOTA youngster dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ CALIFORNIA counties alerted to very early and intense WEST NILE VIRUS activity.

  1. A bear attacking a man in a hot tub, that was not nice of him, Jerry.

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