This adorable video could be titled something like, Fed young bear begging for more goodies…, OR, The beginning of the end of a grizzly bear.
It is obvious in the young bear’s behavior that it learned to seek handouts, to beg human food at a very young age. Wild lands moments like this one are precious in the present, only if we are ignorant of, or just ignore, past impacts and future outcomes? Young begging bears become massive smash and grab bears in the future. They throw their weight around! Just add fifty more roadside visits and another two-hundred and fifty pounds of grizzled mass on the bear as it ages–if it lives that long.
If this young bear avoids fast moving vehicles and obtains reproductive maturity, and if it’s a female, she will pass this behavior on to her offspring as this bear’s mother passed this tactic on to it. Generations of bears once fed at Yellowstone’s refuse dumps, cheering tourist crowds looking on from bleachers. The bears became unmanageable. The dumps were closed in the late Seventies, the problems died, literally. Today, generations of bears beg food from short-sighted Greater Yellowstone visitors offering sweet bribes for better pictures. Must we close the roads?
Roadkill takes many forms. Some bears are hit by cars, suffer and die. Some bears dodge the cars and harass the occupants of cars and camps. They enter a cycle of relocation and return, followed by eventual elimination, if necessary–just another form of roadkill. Fearless bears approaching vehicles, people, and camps, become a wildlife management challenge. In the end, wildlife managers always win. But the battle can be very costly. Wild lands officials love wilderness and all things wild and free but they serve people first, wildlife second–it’s the job. When a bear is a problem, the bear pays.
The inland grizzly earned its latinized moniker, horribilis. (Ursus arctose horribilis). Lewis and Clark were the first to describe the grizzly bear for science. The Indian tribes of the upper Missouri knew grizzlies well and warned the expedition leaders of their mass, power, and aggressiveness. The cute juvenile bear in the family video possesses the power to end human life with one lightening fast blow from its heavy paw. Look closely and you can see the six-inch claws adapted for digging through rocky mountain soil and for tearing at prey.
Tom Bain, Outdoor Readiness