Through my work, I have experienced firsthand many of the challenges faced by a growing contingent of people dedicated to helping others live, work, and recreate more peacefully with bears. A major concern is poorly informed problem solving. Missing information or use of misinformation can compromise outcomes for people and bears. Alternatively, prospects for finding better ways of moving forward for people and bears should improve if people have access to reliable information to understand and appreciate bears, identify threats to bears, and to motivate action to address human–bear related issues. When confronted by stubborn issues, a well-informed and engaged citizenry will be better positioned to find acceptable solutions for a more peaceful coexistence between people and bears.
Easier Access to Reliable Information About Bears
I want to help others working on initiatives to address human–bear related issues by spotlighting reliable information about bears that are available for support. Bear experts have produced heaps of reliable information about bears and human–bear interactions, but for many people the challenge is finding it. Unfortunately, information about bears tends to proliferate, often with little regard for accuracy and reliability, in particular on the Internet. Indeed, the situation is outright messy; hence, I am not surprised that people often ask me for information and advice. Often, it is just a matter of directing them to information that is already available. However, there are still some gaps that I hope will soon be filled. As availability of and access to reliable information improves, people can better focus on learning how to solve complex and challenging problems more effectively and finding acceptable solutions for that work for people and bears.
Bear Awareness and Safety Collectors Items
Some people collect stamps; I collect bear brochures. I also regularly do web searches to see what kind of bear information is out there, always with the hope that I will find great new resources. But for years now, it seems that resources with inappropriate and inaccurate information are easier to find than the good stuff. Sometimes, it’s just a case of information that was produced long ago and never updated when more reliable information became available. Even so, there are lots of reliable information about bears out there and I’m keen to help people find it.
A Page Dedicated to Wildlife Resources
I’ve created a page to post references for reliable information for wildlife that I frequently use in my work and that I often share with others. I’m starting with a bear awareness and safety section for people who want to learn more about living, working and recreating in bear country, and for the bears that stand to benefit too. See Bear Awareness & Safety Resources: http://ravenecological.com/?page_id=253
If you have an interest in following bear research and management, including the IBA newsletter and Ursus journal articles, visit The International Association for Bear Research and Management website: http://www.bearbiology.com/
As a work in-progress, I’ll add other topics for bears and expand into the weasel family, which includes the other critters that I’ve spent lots of time learning about, wolverines and fishers.
Watch for lots more to come soon.