In the Kingdom of the Bears
October 9, 2018 10:14 AM   Subscribe

The human-bear bond is ancient, but across the northern hemisphere, only a few societies remember the art of neighboring bears.

A snuffling and snorting outside my tent stirs me awake. I sit up, feel for my bear spray, and try to recall my surroundings. My tent is just one of several, and the food is locked in an old trailer down a path through the scrubby trees. The only other sound is my breathing—until a sharp bang from someone hitting a pot splits the air, shooing away our midnight visitor in a calm, firm voice: “Yau ‘thà. [Hello, black bear.] Go on now. Not tonight, thank you.”

posted by poffin boffin (14 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
That is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
posted by teleri025 at 10:49 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]

I love this. Saved the article to reread when overcome by ecological grief. At least there's still a great bear rainforest.
posted by zdravo at 10:59 AM on October 9

I belong to a facebook group where people discuss the goings-on in our very rural, sparsely-populated area. There's a single bear that has figured out how to efficiently and quietly break into people's chicken and turkey coops and feast on their poultry, and every day or two somebody posts about how the bear got their birds. A few people have posted trail cam shots of the bear, who is very fat. Even though at least two of them had bear tags and were therefore allowed to kill the bear at will, to their frustration nobody's been able to catch it in the act.

Although I feel bad for the birds and keep hens myself, I can't help but root for the bear as an antihero. Keep getting fatter, buddy.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:57 AM on October 9 [17 favorites]

Thanks for posting that, poffin boffin.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 12:48 PM on October 9

Although I feel bad for the birds and keep hens myself, I can't help but root for the bear as an antihero. Keep getting fatter, buddy.

Hear hear. It's their territory, we're just living in it. Though that can't be a pleasant end for the chicken.

I've had an affinity to bears* for a long time. A few years ago I did a bucket list item and went up to Churchill to see the polar bears in early November before they cross the ice to hunt seals. It was amazing, and they are awe-inspiring animals. I can't dwell too long on the decline of sea ice, I worry a lot about the future for polar bears.

*The four-legged kind. I mean, I'm good with "bears" too they're just not my demographic.
posted by jzb at 1:12 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]

Facebook fatbear update: it ate 8 turkeys last night.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:44 PM on October 9 [18 favorites]

That was great- thanks for posting!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:55 PM on October 9

Facebook fatbear update: it ate 8 turkeys last night.

MetaFilter update: Now I am find myself sympathetic with an overweight bear in rural Montana whom I did not know existed six minutes ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:30 PM on October 9 [9 favorites]

a bear’s “fart of dehibernation” was interpreted as the breaking wind that announced the blessed arrival of spring and the resurrection of life after the dead of winter.

Christians will colonize anything!
posted by doctornemo at 4:48 PM on October 9

8 turkeys, a canadian thanksgiving miracle
posted by poffin boffin at 4:49 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]

True. At my in-laws' for Thanksgiving on the weekend, I could barely put a dent in my third one.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:29 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]

It really seems like one of the biggest ecological problems facing the whole of the Pacific Northwest is not enough salmon. The whales need them, the bears need them. They're an incredible boon to upstream ecosystems generally, a really powerful transfer of nutrients and energy from the ocean to inland areas. And there's not enough of them anywhere after decades of dams and overfishing and general mismanagement, and we're doing so little to fix that. It's a slow moving crisis.

I don't think we'll fix it in time to save the Southern Resident orcas, as terrible as that is. It sounds like the bears in this area are getting enough protection that they'll make it, which is good.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:35 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]

Facebook Fatbear update.

A few days ago folks living around its chomping grounds heard a rifle shot at night and were speculating that someone'd finally shot the bear. People eagerly waited for confirmation of its demise. Somebody asked for the hide. No new reports of poultry snacking came in the following days. I started to get real bummed out.

Then just now a guy posted that he had shot at the bear that night and missed, only managing to scare it off. Fatbear lives!
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:29 PM on October 12 [5 favorites]

Fatbear radio silence until yesterday when a coop of chickens was expertly burgled and snacked upon forty miles from here. A week is comfortable time for a north-traveling bear to make that distance. Wishing you a good fresh feeding ground in these last few weeks before blubbery sleep.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:32 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]

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