By Forrest Brown | CNN
You’re out for a hike on a glorious fall day. Suddenly, you spot a bear. And the bear has spotted you, too. Would you know what to do next?
Beth Pratt sure would.
She was once on the Old Gardiner Road Trail in Yellowstone National Park, enjoying her run in wild nature. Her reverie came to an end when she came upon a grizzly bear eating flowers.
“I stopped. It stood on its hind legs and looked at me. I knew that wasn’t a threatening gesture,” she told CNN Travel. “I’m not kidding, it waved its paw at me as if to say, ‘just go on your way,’ and went back to eating.”
“And I walked slowly away and put some distance between us, and the encounter ended fine.”
When it comes to dealing with bears, Pratt does have a thing or two on almost all the rest of us, though.
She is the California regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation, a job she’s had for more than 10 years. She also worked in Yellowstone for several years — and once saw nine grizzlies in one day there.
She’s the author of “When Mountain Lions are Neighbors,” which addresses how people can co-exist with wildlife in California. And there’s a chapter just on bears.
Finally, she lives on the border of Yosemite National Park, and bears will pass through her yard, including this one seen in the footage above in late September.
You can hear the enthusiasm in Pratt’s voice as she shares her bear bona fides and advice to make sure bear/human encounters are delightful, not dangerous.
“A wild bear is a beautiful sight to see. It’s incredible to see them in the wild. I never had a bad experience with bears. What I try to get people to feel is respect, not fear, for bears. The animal usually wants to avoid the encounters.”
A Mother Grizzly and her cub walk through a meadow in Yellowstone National Park.(Will Powers/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images) Bears in the news
Bear attacks are rare, Pratt and US National Park Service websites point out, but they do happen.
Earlier this month in North Carolina, a couple’s unleashed dog attracted unwanted attention from a black bear as they were picnicking on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A few days ago, a hunter was attacked in Wyoming by a female grizzly, who was with her cubs.
In both cases, the people survived the attacks. But in the European country of Slovakia, a man died after being attacked by a brown bear in June.
All illustrate the point that rare doesn’t equal never.
Feasts for beasts
This is a good time of year to bone up on the bear facts and safety because many bears are now in a phase known as hyperphagia, Pratt said. “It’s a period in the fall where bears are eating anything and everything to fatten up for hibernation.”
She noted mountain lions are comparatively picky eaters. Not bears.
“They eat …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment