Learn to live with the bears

  • By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer
  • Monday, March 28, 2011 12:01am
  • LifeSultan

Bears are not out to eat you. On the other hand, they are probably not going to be dancing around singing, “The Bare Necessities,” either.

Bears live somewhere in between those two stereotypes. And it’s important if you are living near these creatures to know as many facts as you can.

“We want to teach that bears are not monsters, but they are not cuddly either,” said Wendy Gardner. “Every bear has a different personality.”

Gardner and Nicholas Jorg lead the Sky Valley Bear Smart Project, a collaboration of the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project and state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

They will be in Sultan, along with Colter, a Karelian bear dog, presenting the program “Living With Bears in Sky Valley” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sultan Library, 319 Main St.

For more information call the library at 360-793-1695 or go online to www.sno-isle.org.

Gardner said some of the highlights of the program will include the differences between black bears and grizzlies, the best garbage and pet-food handling methods, and tips on how to avoid creating problems with bird feeders.

Jorg will introduce Colter and talk about the ways these dogs train bears so that both bear and human remain safe. Jorg said with the aid of the dogs, they can condition the bears to avoid human contact.

The program is for all ages and will have an interactive segment where the audience will be quizzed. Junior ranger badges will be handed out, Gardner said.

“The kids are the ones who get all excited, and they get parents kind of excited, so it’s been a real family thing,” Gardner said.

Statistics show the black bear population in Washington runs between 25,000 and 30,000.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com.

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