Would a taser stop a bear? Or at least teach him not to prowl around the garbage dump? TASER International, Inc., an AZ company that normally makes tasers (and other less-than-lethal deterrents) to use on humans, just introduced a $2,000 taser designed especially for wild animals like bear and moose. The first instinct of many animal lovers was to groan, but I think it may actually help save animals.
The company literature points more to using the taser ton negatively condition wildlife to stay away from people–rather than, say, going out in the woods and shooting the taser at any grizzly that spooks you. The $2,000 pricetag probably puts it out of reach of the casual hiker or hunter (who can stick with bear spray). The cartridges are about $25 each.
It comes with laser sights, computer tracking and probes that fly up to 35 feet and into the grizzly or lion to deliver the incapacitating charge.
They point to a 2009 test of eight bears at an AK garbage dump. The bears weren’t permanently hurt and only a few were really stunned. They all left (as did bears nearby who weren’t tased), but they tended to come back the next day. The one that got tased the hardest took the longest to come back. The company says they’re “available today for wildlife managers, field biologists and zoo caretakers.”
The company, which didn’t have anyone available to talk, also points out on its site that people have used tasers on wildlife successfully–like a cop who used a taser to stun an elk to free it from a fence. There are plenty more stories like that one: Toronto police used a taser on a downtown deer that a tranquilizer didn’t knock out. Alaska cops used their on a worried mother moose, then made it a regular part of their arsenal. The Firearm Blog suggests they might even be used for less-than-lethal hunting someday–as some lion farms do in South Africa.
Where to Go See Bear
Where to Go See Moose