Dogs Are Being Used to Scare Bears

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Emma Trinh, Staff Writer

Karelian Bear dogs are a new non-lethal tool to avoid any unwanted interactions between human and bears. Problems started when dozens of polar bears were entering people’s homes or businesses without any permission. No one was sure what to do. Polar Bears are an endangered species in Russia, and the Federal Government has refused to allow citizens to shoot them.

The “invasion” of polar bears has sparked a question for wildlife managers in North America. What could citizens do to scare the bears away without hurting them? The answer, dogs. Polar bears are currently in danger in North America too. Because of the change in weather, the natural habitats where a polar bear would live is melting away. So naturally, the polar bears travel further inland to find food. With brown or black bears, their range is expanding and oil and gas are unfortunately near the bears’ range.

“Normally, if a bear is too close for comfort on a property, citizens would call wildlife specialists. Specialists would then corner the animal and euthanize it.” says specialist Alan Myers. “or you could dart the animal, put it in a cage, and send it far far away.” These options were the only ones and none were effective at all.

Since then, officials and executives in the United States and Canada have begun to turn to dogs as an alternative. Bear dogs now work with wildlife and land managers in many states. “Bears are naturally afraid of canines, because a pack of wild coyotes can steal a cub.” The most common breed of bear dog is called the Karelian Bear Dog.