Sunday, July 5, 2009

To see why the bear crossed the road, read this column

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 07/05/2009 01:27:19 AM PDT

I nearly hit a black bear crossing the road on Central Avenue in McKinleyville the other day. The bruin darted out in front of my car and I had to swerve to keep from plowing into him!

My wife thought I was having a seizure or something until she saw the brown blur loping into an empty lot on the far side of the street.

We quickly agreed it was the first time we ever had to dodge a bear -- either on foot or in a car -- despite countless trips to national and state parks over the years. I suspect the bear was foraging through someone's trash when he realized (for whatever reason) it was time to beat paws to a safer place.

I wondered if there might be a more sinister reason why that bear was running around town. Lately, there have been numerous reports of rabid foxes, and a few attacks on humans, during the day.

I checked out The International Association for Bear Research and Management, also known as the International Bear Association (IBA), Web site and discovered it wasn't unusual for a bear to forage for food during the day. That was nice to know.

It's likely the bear we saw was a young male (the full-grown ones can weigh from 350 to 500 pounds and our busy bear didn't look half that size). Relieved, I scanned the Web site and discovered there are eight different bear species. Click here to read the rest.

image via Google Images

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