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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Campers Warned to Follow Safety Rules in Utah's Bear Country

Some 3,000-4,000 black bears live in Utah and they are normally shy - most people will never see one.

But the animals can cause trouble when they become accustomed to living around humans. To avoid problems, people camping and engaging in other recreational activities are encouraged to follow basic safety rules. Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) offers these tips.

So far in July, 5 bears have been shot and killed by people who felt threatened by the animals. That is an amazingly high number - more than in any other year on record. In many years no bears are killed by recreationists.

DWR officials are concerned about the high number. Normal bear behavior is to avoid humans. Even when bears become accustomed to humans, they usually avoid direct confrontation and will try to get away.

People are justified in killing a bear if it is threatening them. But DWR officials fear people are shooting first, without giving the animals a change to get away.

DWR personnel routinely trap and move problem bears, putting them into remote mountain locations where they are less likely to encounter humans. If possible, people encountering a bear should call DWR and let them take care of the problem.

KSL TV has this interesting report (with video) about the bear problem.

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