According to a N.Y. Times article, the recent news about attacks by grizzly bears in Montana may have people concerned that human-bear encounters are on the rise, but this is not true. Human-bear encounters remain relatively rare. Some interesting statistics:
- 62 million visitors have been to Yellowstone National Park from 1980-2002 and only 32 injuries were caused by bears.
- According to Park Officials the chance of being injured by a bear in Yellowstone Ntional Park is 1 in 1.9 million.
- From 1900-2004 grizzly bears have killed 87 people across North America according to Ainslie Willock president of the Get Bear Smart Society based in Whistler, B.C.
In fact, Eric Kezsler of Wyoming Game and Fish states there have not been more bear encounters than usual this year. Aside form the bizarre grizzly bear attack that occurred in the Soda Butte Campground in Montana on July 28, 2010, the Montana Fish and Wildlife spokesman states this year has been pretty typical in respect to bears.
Usually grizzly bears attack because they are defending their young, a food source or are suddenly surprised. None of these scenarios apply to the grizzly bear attack that occurred to the three campers in the Soda Butte Campground, where one man was killed and two others were injured. Officials are baffled as to why the attacks occurred. An interagency team will be investigating the incident and releasing a report in the next couple of weeks.
You can learn much more about recreating safely in bear country and what to do if you encounter a bear on our website under bear safety.