Thar's a bar. Whar? Over thar
Anyway, Yogi runs counter to popularly-held paranoia and mythology about the grizzly. Grizzlies, as we know, are the scary bears with a wonderfully apt Latin name, Ursus Horribilis, and who take a huge toll on human lives each and every year. Or so our primal fears tell us. “If you go down in the woods today, you better go in disguise.” No, if you go down in the woods today, you better wear Depends because if you see a grizzly, you will instantly use them. Either that or never go walking in the woods unless you are accompanied by somebody who runs slower than you do.
Grizzlies are the great white sharks of the hinterland, and coastal British Columbia abounds in them. They are a source of massive fear. But, like the aforementioned sharks, I think we need to be realistic about the creature. They don’t really kill ‘that’ many people on an annual basis.
In fact, in eastern Canada and the US, black bears take a much greater toll on human lives. Yet, here in the west blacks are generally considered to be as benevolent as Labrador puppies. That, of course, is probably a more dangerous myth than the one that holds that grizzlies are ‘always’ primal killing machines. Point of fact for those who might want to hike the BC or Alberta hinterland, cougars are much-much-much-much more potentially dangerous than any bear.
I only mention the grizzly thing -- (and I’ve only seen one in my life, and that was at Waterton National Park in the Rockies when I was about 16. My brother and I were sitting under a little footbridge by a river cursing the fact that we had been forced to go on vacation with our parents, when we heard a pad-pad-pad on the bridge. I looked up and looked right into the hair brown legs of a grizzly traversing the way. He showed absolutely no interest in either of us, and headed up a trail into the woods when he got to the other side of the river) --because I read in the paper this morning that there has been a grizzly sighting on Vancouver Island. That’s the third such sighting in as many years.
That’s weird. Widely-held belief is that grizzlies could not swim the relatively brief crossing between the Mainland and the northern part of Vancouver Island. Not so, I guess. You see, there is a benefit to living on an offshore island, and that is all sorts of creatures cannot make it across. Consequently, we have no skunks, no porcupines, no coyotes (lotsa wolves), no moose, and a few other creatures to be noted for their absence amongst the fauna. And no grizzlies, we always believed.
So, what is happening here? Did one gird his hirsute loins and show that the passage was possible, and now others are following suit? I suspect so. Countless zoological studies have proved that once one animal breaks the metaphorical ice, then others will begin to follow, until it becomes intrinsic.
The classic study was one done a few years ago in Wales. One day a shepherd noticed a sheep approach the grid in the roadway. A grid that was designed to keep the animals confined. But, one sheep walked up to it on this day, put his limited IQ to use and decided, “I can do that!” He then got down on his sheep knees and rolled across the grid and began munching the luscious grass on the other side. Within months all the other sheep were doing it. And then, despite their lack of mobile-phone access and an inability to text, sheep all over the United Kingdom were doing it. Eventually it spread worldwide – nobody knows how – and sheep grids were rendered ineffective.
I think the same thing has happened with the grizzlies and their swim. What this bodes for us, I have no idea.
Labels: Let's have a pick--a-nick