Yellowstone Sanctuary, home to bears, cougar, Ted Turner's magpie, may close

Mountain lion peers out from lair.

MT’s only wildlife sanctuary may close because it’s not meeting federal regulations, but it won’t say which ones.

Keep reading Closing MT’s only wildlife rehab center, home to bear, lynx, Ted Turner’s magpie?


Black bear who sought romantic vacation on Cape Cod sent home

black and white picture of a bear butt

The Cape Cod bear has been amusing Cape Cod since Memorial Day, but MA sent him back to the mainland for causing a spectacle. Poor guy. His mom probably just kicked him out so she could find a new mate. Either that, or he was looking for a girlfriend.

Keep reading Black bear who sought romantic vacation on Cape Cod sent home

Bears kill keepers in creepy Japanese Bear Farm

Bears escaped from desolate pens where they performed for food (and may have been part of gall bladder harvest). Two of 3 elderly caretakers were found dead.

Keep reading Bears kill keepers in creepy Japanese Bear Farm

Bear biologist Lynn Rogers hosts best Wild Kingdom episode ever

Bear biologist Lynn Rogers hosts best Wild Kingdom episode ever

Keep reading Bear biologist Lynn Rogers hosts best Wild Kingdom episode ever

Yellowstone: How to See Bears

3 grizzlies

Grizzly family walks

“Where can I find a bear?” is supposedly the most common question asked of Yellowstone rangers. For decades this has been bear central. Back in the day, rangers set out garbage on bear-viewing stages. Now all food waste is sealed in steel and rangers would like to keep people far from bears–while paradoxically allowing us to enjoy the park.

The rangers want to keep people from bears not because humans are bears’ favorite snack. It’s more that bears make crowds of people do stupid things. In just a few shoulder season days I saw plenty cars stopped in the road and more than a few people chasing a grizzly down the road by foot and car. All the advice about bear spray and staying back 100 yards is forgotten when a handsome bear lumbers by.

Yellowstone has two bear species. Black bears are smaller, more docile and often have a lighter muzzle. And they’re usually black, but can come in rust to brown. Grizzlies (also called brown bears) are huge, more aggressive and have a big shoulder hump and superlong claws. So naturally, that’s the one Americans want to see. You can see black bears anywhere–or at least in 40 states, the Bear Center says. Yellowstone is one of a handful of pockets of grizzlies left in the lower 48–with the rest up on the remote Canadian border, the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project shows.

Grizzly Grins

Bears hardly ever attack people. (Though, while we

Keep reading Yellowstone: How to See Bears

Battle of the NJ Bear Hunt Polls

grown black bear

When the Humane Society announced a poll this week that showed New Jersey residents opposed a bear 44% to 41%, it kicked out a discussion of whether the results are really true. Different polls are all over the map. Hunters point to this 2004 poll saying 66% of New Jersey residents support hunting in general. But of course that’s not bear hunting (another poll shows approval of bear hunting at 47% nationwide).

So I asked the company that did the state poll–and which specializes in hunting-related surveys–about their full results. Mark Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, was nice enough to send me the links to two thorough surveys they did on New Jersey hunting attitudes and the way people view hunting different species.

Duda doubts this week’s poll results. “I’d have to see how the question was worded but that result would fly in the face of all other research,” he says. Indeed, the poll question does push. I wish they had just asked a straightforward question.

QUESTION: The state of New Jersey has protected black bears since 1970 with only two trophy hunts permitted in the past forty years. The state is now considering allowing hunters to kill up to 400 black bears. Do you support or oppose the hunting of black bears in New Jersey?

But the results fall in line almost exactly with a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind 2007 poll that also had 44% disapproving and 41% approving and that question was straightforward:

 Now lastly, thinking

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NJ Hunters Suspicious of Any Poll That Shows People Don’t Like Bear Hunting

Bear on logs

The Humane Society released a poll Sunday showing that a plurality (45%) of New Jersey residents oppose the bear hunt the state just approved for this winter. Expect a backlash of hunters who don’t believe it, but the survey isn’t a fluke: it shows the long-term decline of the popularity of hunting.

The survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. that showed 45% of voters oppose the hunt versus 35% supporting it, with 4% margin of error. I would’ve like to see more than 635 people polled, but it’s still random. And it shows the growing discomfort with hunting bears just for fun. Public opinion has shifted–ever so slightly–against hunting since a similar 2004 poll by Fairly Dickinson University. That survey 44%  of NJ residents disapproves a hunt and 41% approved.  They polled 701 voters and had a margin of error of 4%.

As I’ve pointed out before, NJOA tells its members that “there are 650,000 of us, which is approximately 15% of all voters.” They’re counting people who hunt OR fish. And then it seems just for good measure doubling their numbers.

The reality is hunting is in decline. The latest National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife-Associated Recreational say of 7 million New Jersey residents, only 1% hunt, about 86,000 people hunt, but 23%, or 1.5 million, like to watch wildlife. But state wildlife agencies, funded only by hunting permits, serve hunters almost exclusively. Hunters spend $137 million in New Jersey, but wildlife watchers spent $631

Keep reading NJ Hunters Suspicious of Any Poll That Shows People Don’t Like Bear Hunting