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‘It’s people's fault!’: Scientists say after analyzing 664 bear attacks

‘It’s people's fault!’: Scientists say after analyzing 664 bear attacks
Most bear attacks are provoked by the risky behavior of people involved in the incidents, new research has revealed. The study also provided advice on how to avoid an encounter with the dangerous beasts.

A group of scientists from 20 countries, including Russia, thoroughly analyzed 664 brown bear attacks on humans, which occurred around the globe between 2000 and 2015.Such altercations unusually end badly for the people involved, who escape with injuries in 90 percent of cases, while 10 percent of the attacks turn out to be lethal, according to the research published in Scientific Reports magazine.

Around half of the attacks happened when female bears were with cubs, as the animals are especially aggressive when they’re protecting their young.

Around 20 percent of the incidents resulted from sudden encounters between a human and a beast in the wilderness.The presence of dogs, which usually react aggressively to the bears, led to an attack in 17 percent of cases.

Gunshots and injuries inflicted to the bear by hunters resulted in a counterattack in 10 percent of incidents, while five percent of bear assaults happened when they tried to snatch food from people.

Most of the attacks were the result of the “wrong and risky behavior of the people,” the researchers concluded.

“The bear is one of the smartest and most dangerous animals, but it usually doesn’t attack humans without being provoked,” one of the authors of the study, Aleksandr Shishkin from the Forest Institute in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, said.

An example of this was a recent clip in which a man kept harassing a young bear that he encountered in the woods. He ended up suffering several painful bites.

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In order to avoid a bear assault in the woods, one should make as much noise as possible because the bear will be alerted to human presence and will likely be scared away, Shishkin advised.

If an encounter still happens, it’s paramount that you restrain your fear and don’t try to run away, as it’s the predator’s instinct to chase prey.

The correct response would be to keep making noise and posing menacingly, while slowly retreating backwards.Most bears are afraid of humans, but there are some that lose this fear and try to track people down. These animals pose the greatest danger and should be put down, Shishkin said.

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The paper also warned against taking dogs to areas that are inhabited by bears, as well as going there alone.Encounters between humans and bears have become more frequent in recent years as a result of hunting bans and other measures intended to restore the animal’s population and expand its habitat, the scientists said. There’s around 200,000 bears on the planet at present, with half of these living in Russia.

A new bear video from the woods outside Norilsk in Krasnoyarsk Region may serve as an example of the correct behavior for people to follow in such circumstances. It shows a large beast intruding on a picnic, eating all the meat for a barbecue, and searching through bags. The tourists retreated and made no attempt to drive the bear away as he munched on their food.

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