I was so sad to read of the recent killing and maulings of people at Soda Butte Campground by a mother grizzly bear and her three cubs. I have no credentials as a bear researcher - only an active reader on grizzly behavior. My continued thought as I read the tragic article was: Was there a home or commercial dump site that this grizzly family might have been feeding at - when suddenly the feeding area became unavailable for some reason?
I have been reading everything there is to read on grizzlies since coming to Montana in 1980. "The Night of the Grizzlies" describes how bears had been feeding at the dump at Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park for many years prior to 1967. Hikers regularly slept outside the chalet for years with no grizzly problems. Then, one night in 1967, two people - one at Granite Park Chalet and one on the other side of the park sleeping in a tent - were dragged away in their sleeping bags, killed and eaten. From a bear's perspective, might it be so strange to consider people in sleeping bags as similar to garbage bags thrown into a Dumpster?
Initial theories suggested attacks were prompted by the smell of women with their menstrual periods, organ damage to the bears from eating at the dumps for so long, the weather and increased loss of habitat. Since then, many excellent books have been written to assist people in avoiding bears and learning how to respond to bear encounters.
You have free articles remaining.
I truly hope the bear researchers find the reason for this behavior so that family of the man who died and the others who were mauled can find some peace in this tragic event, and so others can be better informed, and fewer bears and people have to die.
Susan Green, Potomac