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Hungry Bears a Problem In Fort Mcmurray: ‘They’re Not Eating People, They’re after the Rotten Pizza in Your Freezer’
Hungry Bears a Problem In Fort Mcmurray: ‘They’re Not Eating People,
They’re after the Rotten Pizza in Your Freezer’
Published on: May 20, 2016
Last Updated: May 20, 2016 8:59 AM MDT
A shorter URL for the above link:
As if the charred remains of houses werent enough to give returning Fort McMurray residents the feel of a dystopian movie, add black bears into the mix.
Theyre just gluttons, really, theyre not savage beasts eating people; theyre after the rotten pizza in your freezer, Lee Foote, a conservation biology professor at the University of Alberta, said Thursday. Theyre not after your children. You just dont want to get in between them and that pizza.
The evacuated city, rife with garbage and food left to rot in bins and freezers, will attract plenty of the furry scavengers Foote likes to think of as large raccoons.
Alberta has about 40,000 bears, and the area between Fort McMurray and Cold Lake is some of their prime habitat.
We had animals coming in through the golf courses black bears and (fire) crews had to stay in place, said Parkland County fire Chief Brian Cornforth, recalling his experience on the wildfires front lines.
The fire has consumed much of their food sources at a time when waking from winter hibernation meant bears were more likely to travel far distances to feed. The likelihood of them coming into Fort McMurray and even breaking into houses to get to food is greater.
Bears are so smart and they learn so quickly, Foote said. Even after youve cleaned up your house, everythings nice and safe, the bears are still thinking, This big square box is bound to have food in it; the last five have.
When successful, they can become repeat offenders and have been known to teach their young to do the same.
Theyll have to retrain a whole generation or two generations of bears most likely, Foote said.
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