Yellowstone National Park was the first national park established in the world. Established in 1872 it includes three states, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It is home to countless species of animals. It is their sanctuary. The founders felt that we needed to preserve our natural resources as well as protect the wildlife that lived there. Since then countless national parks have been created. People from around the world go to visit nature before man touched it. Often times natureís power is not felt or understood until it is too late.
Yellowstone National Park receives thousands of visitors a year. Visitors enjoy many aspects of the park from hiking to tours. It was during a hike that a 57 year old man, while hiking with his wife, lost his life. He was attacked and killed on July 6, 2011 by a protective brown bear, commonly referred to as grizzly bears. The couple walked up on the bear while hiking and they were attacked in an effort on the bearís part to protect her two young cubs. Nearby hikers heard his wifeís screams for help and they called 911. However, they did not reach the couple in time.
Seven teenagers were attacked by another brown bear on July 23, 2011 in the Talkeetna Mountains of Alaska. The bear severely attacked two of the teenagers and hurt several others. It is believed that the bear was protecting a cub. While bears seldom attack such a large group it is believed that the bear did not realize there were others until the attack had already begun. The teens had been walking single file preparing to cross a stream. They were a part of a group of students of the National Outdoor Leadership School, learning survival skills in a 30 day retreat course. In the 40 years the school had been taking groups to Alaska they had never been attacked before. All of the injured teenagers are expected to make a full recovery.
Perhaps one of the most known Grizzly attacks was in October 2003. Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were found dead having been mostly consumed by at least one, possibly two grizzlies. Timothy Treadwell wrote a book in 1997 Among Grizzlies: Living with Wild Bears in Alaska. He often camped on the trails of bears and encouraged contact with wild grizzlies and himself.
Grizzlies are beautiful creatures. They are scavengers and often eat vegetation and berries. They eat fish and small animals when they can, especially to fatten themselves up before hibernation. A female can range between 200 to 400 pounds and reach between five to eight feet. The average life span is about 25 years. Grizzlies are also very fast animals; they can reach up to 30 miles per hour in very little time. This gives little time to protect yourself if one of these giant animals decides to attack.
Bears are wild; they make decisions based on instinct. A mama bearís first instinct is to protect her young. The bears of July 2011 were not hunted and killed. However there were two bears killed in the 2003 attacks. They were aggressive toward those men that went in to find Timothy and Amie.
Have humans lost touch with their primitive side? Humankind may believe they rule the world but in reality it is a teetering scale. There are dangers out there if you explore untouched, primitive land. While it is a beautiful way to spend your time it is important that hikers, hunters, researchers and others respect the delicate balance of nature. My good wishes go out to the family and friends of those attacked and my condolences to the wife of Brian Matayoshi.
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