Kamchatka’s famous brown bear is one of the biggest in the world. Its population is about 18 000. Tourists, scientists, photographers and operators from all over the world visit Kamchatka in order to see a bear in wild nature – his own home.
To make these observations safe and enjoyable, or even if you do not wish to meet a bear, you need to have some basic knowledge about bears and learn some safety rules.
BASIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT KAMCHATKA BROWN BEAR
The main food of a bear is fish. Therefore most of bears are found on the river banks or along lakes during salmon spawning. In spring – summer an awakened and hungry bear moves down the river to catch his first food – spawning salmon and then continues going up the river together with salmon stocks. Towards autumn bears also eat berries, roots and cones after which they hibernate at upper reaches of the river. Bears can be found anywhere: forest, tundra or even in the mountains where they move from one river to another eating small animals and plants.
To avoid sudden and unwanted meeting with a bear, be as noisy as possible when walking through the forest: speak loudly, sing songs and so on. The animal will most probably hear you and take another route. Keep up with the group and do not leave the camp out of sight alone. The bear’s vision is not good, but he has a very good sense of smell and hearing. Bear can smell a human before he can actually see him. Sometimes, when the wind blows in a different direction or a bear is very busy with something like fishing, he does not pay attention to what is happening around him.
If you are suddenly faced with a bear, do not try to run away and do not turn your back on a bear. Bear seldom attacks “in your face”. If you try to run away, a bear will instinctively start chasing you. For him it is the same as hunting. Bear can run as fast as 60 km per hour. There is no way you can escape.
Slowly step back facing a bear and give him way to pass. Often, all you need to do is to show that you are not aggressive and not standing on his way. Before attacking, a bear always shows warning signals such as opening a mouth, standing up on his hind legs or making other threatening actions.
Give way to a bear, and look for a tree around you to climb. Kamchatka bears do not climb trees due to their weight. Their claws cannot keep the weight of the body.
Another option is to scare the bear off with a flare or flare gun. Bears are afraid of open fire. If neither option is available, raise your both arms and start waiving, shouting at the bear at the same time. Bear often avoids everything that seems bigger than him.
If you see cubs, leave that place as soon as possible. Meeting with a mother bear is extremely dangerous. If she sees someone near her cubs, she will attack immediately. Her natural instinct – to protect!
Never leave food or throw it away within the camp! Food smell can attract hungry bears!
Never feed a bear! Once fed by a human, he will surely come back and it might end up with a tragedy or a bear been killed.
A tour guide always has means of protection against bears with him such as a gun, spray gas, flare or flare gun. Guides are experienced and have some knowledge about bears. During the trip, strictly follow their instructions for your own safety and enjoyment.
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