I learned a lot are out February meeting with guest speaker Jenny Costelo, a retired DNR Wildlife Technician. She shared with us all sorts of information about bears, including some things you might find surprising. One little known fact is that black bear don’t growl – they make more of a huffing sound, and blow air out their muzzles, when scared and trying to frighten away someone. We also learned that bears, although omnivores, eat mostly vegetation, including almost every plant in the forest! They even have a specialized space in their jaw to strip leaves off branches. They also use certain plants as “medicine” to help rid themselves of parasites.
Jenny had some great insights on how to think about bears. When bears and humans mix, we often hear the phrase “problem” or “nuisance” bears, but it usually humans that have caused the problem! Bears have an incredible sense of smell – about 100 times better than humans – and can be attracted from far away to a tasty smelling green bin when food supplies in the forest are low. The best thing we can do to try to avoid attracting bearns to our properties is reduce or eliminate attractants, which are anything that a bear could smell and want to eat.
We also go to see some parts of a bear up close – a pelt (with fur), some skulls, and some teeth.
A final little suprise at the end of the meeting was a visit by Myles, the mascot for the Bluenose marathon! We played a little running game with him based on what we just learned about bears. He did quite well! You’ll see him again on the Victoria Day weekend if you choose to join the YNC team at this year’s Bluenose Marathon (and, take note; there are 2 kids races this year!).