Friday, July 20, 2012

The 'Bear' Facts

     I took this photograph in May of this year at Castle Junction in Banff National Park, Alberta. For about 20 minutes, I and a park ranger watched this bear wander the railway tracks. Bears will often walk along the tracks for ease of travel but most often they are looking for grain that has spilled from the many cars that pass through the parks. Unfortunately, many bears have been struck and killed and still others have been left orphaned.
     One report I read said that on average, about 2 grizzlies per year lose their life this way. That doesn't sound like much. But one needs to remember that there are only about 60 grizzlies in the park. Not only that, but these bears have the lowest reproductive rate in the world.
    While too many bears are killed on the tracks, not to be forgotten are the bears killed on the highways cutting through the Parks. A recent Calgary Herald article said that so far this year, 6 black bears lost their lives due to speeders on the roads. It brought out, that during the years spanning 1990-2009, in the mountain parks, 125 black bears were killed on the tracks and 238 on the roads. Pretty sobering numbers. Then think about how many other animals lose their lives due to these reasons.  The message is pretty clear: vehicles and trains need to SLOW DOWN.

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