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Re: Wyoming Cubs Sent to Memphis Zoo

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avatar Wyoming Cubs Sent to Memphis Zoo
August 06, 2009 10:01AM
Further information on the bear cubs from Wyoming:


Following was copied from Upper Pines Bear thread http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,15697 to supplement the above story and provide background:

Frank Furter
Frank Furter

Man injured in grizzly encounter
Associated Press - July 21, 2009 7:15 AM ET

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - A Clark man was hospitalized with extensive injuries to his face following a Sunday afternoon encounter with a sow grizzly bear in Park County....

Opinion and different slant on the affair published recently:

The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2009 10:08AM by Frank Furter.
Re: Wyoming Cubs Sent to Memphis Zoo
August 07, 2009 01:18AM
I simply cannot believe the "spin" that has been put on this event. Facts of the incident in the Cody area come from both "The Cody Enterprise" and "The Billings Gazette," and Mr. Neal - a retired federal biologist, if I am not mistaken - appears to be drawing largely from the earlier "Enterprise" article that was printed before many facts had been released. The second "Gazette" article states that the first indication that Mr. Ruth had of a bear's presence occurred when his head was between her jaws. She attacked him without warning, mauled him severely and ran to her cubs. The man still cannot speak, but he wrote that she, "squared off" to attack again and then - and only then - did he decide to protect himself. As his wife stated, had he not done so, there surely would have been a funeral.

I am old enough to recall the Watergate hearings, where a member of the Nixon administration employed the term, "news management." To that, the late Senator Sam Ervin replied, "Boy, where I come from, we call that lying!" I would like to think the "Casper Star Tribune" and Mr. Neal are not engaging in deliberate misrepresentations, but the man wrote from his hospital bed that he did not want to shoot the bear. He did so only out of clear and present danger and fear for his life.

Some cynical humor for Yosemite afficionados to ponder: I am largely ambivalent on the topic of wolves in Yellowstone, but when Canadian wolves were introduced, I started my own personal tongue-in-cheek campaign to reintroduce the grizzly bear to Yosemite. California in general, and Yosemite in particular, are after all, a historical habitat for "Ursus Horribulus," the grizzly is on the California state flag and they just belong. Of course, if you thought that black bear car burglars are bad, you ought to see what a grizzly can do. You might also find it unsettling when drought prompts their removing campers from a tent and devouring them - but they still belong. I actually don't believe the Yosemite region is ready for a highly intelligent, top-of-the-food-chain, afraid-of-nothing, lord-of-it's-realm predator that will stalk, kill and eat you, but I do like to prompt a little thought.

Several days ago, I sent a get well card to Mr. Ruth, and extended a standing invitation to take him into the badlands of the Big Horn Basin. Until recently, I felt secure that the worst predators in the McCulloch Peaks and Oregon Basin were mountain lion and occasional wolves. Silly me; I recently purchased a book that mentioned the sighting of a sow grizzly and 2 cubs in the McCulloch Peaks some 60-70 years ago...
avatar Re: Wyoming Cubs Sent to Memphis Zoo
August 07, 2009 08:16AM
The issue has prompted another editorial and spirited discussion in the Casper Star Tribune:


I am not blaming the victim, but I think all aspects of the story should be evaluted as we sometimes create situations for ourselves:
1. Would the same attack occured if Mr. Ruth had not been walking alone?
2. Did the weapon that Mr. Ruth carried embolden him to do some things (walk alone, move silently, ignore wind direction, etc) that he would not have done without the weapon?
3. Would bear spray have had the same effect on the grizzly after the initial injury?
4. I wonder how wildlife experts would have treated the event if the bear had not been shot? Would this have been labelled a "problem" bear or merely a bear acting naturally in the wild?

I believe it is highly unusual for a grizzly to stalk, hunt, and kill for food a human as previously implied. Hererro's book on the subject does not support that concept as normal grizzly behavior. The most common scenario in the context of a sow and cubs is that the sow is protecting the cubs from a perceived threat and wants to get the cubs away as soon as the threat is diminished.
It is possible that this whole event will foretell the likely outcome of increased weapons in the national parks--- anyone threatened by an animal will be empowered to shoot the animal for self protection. I don't believe that we have wild areas that should be made 100% safe for every human visitor. We should have lands that intimidate and challenge our cupidity and hubris. Haven't we had enough of humans "subduing the wild frontier"? In the final analysis, the situation was bad for both Mr. Ruth AND the sow.

The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Wyoming Cubs Sent to Memphis Zoo
August 07, 2009 10:41AM
I was unable to locate my book on the deaths in Yellowstone, but suffice it to say that normal, abnormal or anything else, several campers over the past 25 years have been extricated from their tents, dragged away, killed and devoured. The best known is the female Swiss tourist who apparently did everything right except that she hiked alone. In the past several months, I heard from a retired bear biologist that two yearling griz may have been involved in her death. At least one more occurred in West Yellowstone, and a griz tried to drag a motorcyclist from his tent near Cooke City last summer. The last bear was actually unseen, but I believe hair analysis determined it was a griz.

At this time, I am going to say that problem bear from other areas are routinely being relocated between Cody and Yellowstone - per articles in "The Billings Gazette." I personally operate on the premise that there are far more griz than when I moved here in the mid-70's, and they have expanded their range to within several miles of Cody, a town of 9,000 people. I work with a former hunting guide who occasionally speaks of his experience with the highly-intelligent bruin. He spoke of bear walking among hobbled horses, looking for alfalfa cubes (with molasses?) without scaring the horses, sow griz with cubs circling the camp to backtrack a successful hunter to locate the gutpile and responding to gun shots like a dinner bell and chasing the hunters off their downed animal.

Finally, Mr. Ruth was hiking between 1 to 1 1/2 miles from his home, in an area that he thought that he knew well. I am sure that had he known of the likelihood of a bear sighting, much less encounter, he would stayed away. Avoidance is actually my philosophy, but then I know that they have no fear of man and go where they want.
avatar Re: Wyoming Cubs Sent to Memphis Zoo
August 08, 2009 11:10AM
Wyoming man recounts grizzly bear attack


The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
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