It's been a bad week to be a human who doesn't want to get mauled by a bear, but a great week to be a bear who likes mauling. Over the past five days, seven people in five states have been mauled by an unknown number bears. The mauling victims included a hunter in Alaska, two hikers in Wyoming, a 12-year-old girl out jogging in Michigan, a camper in Colorado, and two researchers in Idaho. All of them survived the attacks, thanks to good luck, bear spray, yelling, and playing dead.
"The reason why we're having bear attacks now is because we have vacationers out in the areas where bears live," said Tom Stalf, CEO of the Columbus Zoo. "They're out foraging and looking for food."
Stalf said the migration of humans is another reason for more bear encounters.
"It's called urban sprawl," he said. "As we vacation and we move out of the cities and into the country, we're going to cross paths with different types of animals."
But Harry Reynolds, vice president of the International Association for Bear Research and Management, said sometimes it's just luck.
"I think the recent attacks are circumstance and not any larger outside issue weighing into the attacks," he said. "In past years in Alaska, when there are berry failures, the bears may be more aggressive in looking for food. But this year was a good crop. I really think the recent bear attacks are just circumstance — people in the wrong time at the wrong place."
Well, there you go, I guess. If you don't want to get mauled by a bear, stay out of bear places at bear o'clock.