You may have heard the recent story about Bellevue City Councilmember John Chelminiak who was attacked by a bear at Lake Wenatchee on Friday. Fortunately, Mr. Chelminiak survived and is on the road to recovery at a Seattle hospital. Bear attacks are extremely rare, but a failed berry crop in Washington State this year has caused a hardship for our ursine neighbors and many have been running into trouble with humans as they search for substitute sources of food.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has posted a news release about the bear attack that includes tips on how to avoid negative interactions with bears, including bringing in pet food and bird seed. Additional information can be found on the Black Bear page of the department’s Living With Wildlife site. Encounters between bears and hikers are also more likely this year. The Washington Trails Association posted information in their blog on bear safety for hikers.
Whether you are in a rural setting or a busy suburb, you should make a conscious effort to remain “bear aware” as we head into the fall season. Again, bear attacks on humans are extremely rare, but a little heightened awareness and preventative action go a long way to avoiding problems with these impressive animals.