I couldn't resist the title since we are talking about bears here in Northern New Mexico. This year has been a tough year for bears, with berries and acorns less plentiful due to the drought. Bear cubs are in even more danger because they normally have a 50% chance of surviving their first year and the added stressors of not enough water or food is causing local scientists to predict a "lost generation" of bears. Because many of the bears have become "nuisance" bears, which means they are not afraid of humans, more are being shot or euthanized than ever before.
Because there is no natural food, they are looking elsewhere, where people have food, water, farm animals, bees, and other goodies, like picnic baskets. (I made up the last part.)
Here's a headline in the local paper. It was the big news item for the week: bears have been spotted all over the place, even strolling the river walk in Las Vegas, NM, causing it to be shut down to humans.
Not only have bears been spotted strolling in romantic places, a lady near us shot and killed a bear she caught attacking her goats. Another bear was spotted in a Santa Fe neighborhood and relocated. I like this photo. The animal control officer and the bear seem to be enjoying a communal moment before the bear has to go.
Beekeepers have also been hit. It's not just in cartoons that bears love honey, a perfect food for all of us. A neighbor's bees were raided so often she had to move them miles away, kind of like a witness relocation program for bees.
Last night I was dumb and left a rotting pear on the porch. The pear was gone and the container holding birdseed was tipped over. Ms. Pearl barked up a ruckus, so that's all that happened. We don't know if it was a bear or a raccoon.
A couple nights ago something snagged an almost empty bag of cat food and pulled it outside through the cat door. The next night I was waiting and found a big old fat raccoon on the porch. He squeezed himself back outside through the little cat door and I allowed Ms. Pearl to make a barking, back-fur raising circuit of the yard. We call it "mohawking" because of the ridge of fur she raises when she's in predator mode. Mr. Raccoon hasn't been back.
Are there bears here? Yep, but so far all Tom has seen is fresh bear poop. Tom carries a rifle or pistol when he goes wood gathering or hiking and I have a big stick. I guess we'll just have to see what happens.