Monday, April 27, 2009

Living with Predators Resource Guide

The 2009 edition of the Living with Predators Resource Guides is now available. The guides can be downloaded at no cost via the Living with Wildlife Foundation (LWWF) web site at

The guides are a comprehensive set of resources containing information about how to prevent conflicts with predators with an emphasis on bears.

The largest guide, “Techniques and refuse Management options for Residential Areas, Campgrounds and Group-Use Facilities” has been updated to include a number of new bear-resistant products and new information about the updated Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program.

One of the guides, “Predator Behavior Modification Tools for Wildlife Professionals” is not available via the general link on the LWWF web page. We try to restrict distribution of this guide to wildlife professionals. Please email Patti Sowka at if you would like to be able to download this guide.

LWWF has now expanded its portion of the bear-resistant products testing program to include testing with captive black bears at Southwest Wildlife Rehabilitation and Educational Foundation, Inc. located in Scottsdale, Arizona. This non-profit does a wonderful job of helping to educate the public about ways to co-exist with wildlife and they also provide a life-long home to confiscated and non-releasable wild animals. Please visit them at .

Please contact Patti Sowka at 406-544-5307 or for more information.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bear’s Quest for Calories

Living around humans, bears have developed a taste for people's garbage because it is often higher in calories than their natural food sources. Below, common types of human foods are contrasted with how many acorns a bear would have to eat to get the same amount of calories.

A dozen eggs is 888 calories. That is equql to 234 acorns.

A pound of hot dogs is 1,456 calories. That is equal to 384 acorns.

A McDonald’s double cheeseburger combo is 1,620 calories. That is equal to 427 acorns.

A pound of Black oil sunflower seeds is 1,740 calories. That is equal to 458 acorns.

A dozen Jelly donuts is 2,640 calories. That is equal to 695 acorns.

A large Pepperoni Pizza is 17,352 calories. That is equal to 4,566 acorns.

Compare that to 25 pounds of Purina dog chow. That is 42,425 calories. That is equal to 11,165 acorns.

I think that now you are getting the picture why bears prefer human food over acrons. Plus acrons don't taste that good!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Report from the field, Montana

John taylor (my colleague from Wildlife Media) and I just returned from a short trip to Montana where we were meeting with the folks from Vital Ground about their work to create conservation easements in grizzly bear habitat. Vital Ground was born of the "movie star" Bart the Bear who appeared on the big screen alongside actors like Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt.

His trainers, Doug and Lynne Seus decided they wanted to give something back to the grizzly bear and decided that taking steps to protect habitat was just right. We had a great day with the board, hearing about their work in Montana, Idaho, and Alaska.

En route to Missoula we had a chance to drop in at Counter Assault, the bear pepper spray manufacturers based in Kalispell. Pride Johnson was kind enough to give us a tour of the factory where it all happens. We were very impressed with the facility and the great people who work there. Bear pepper spray is the very best line of defense against an aggressive bear.

When dispensed, the canister shoots out a cloud of pepper spray and upon contact with the bear's nasal cavity and respiratory system creates a very uncomfortable diversion. The "heat" or "hotness" of pepper spray, and the associated peppers that the "heat ingredient" capsaicin is derived from is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). A sweet bell pepper is rated at 0, while green pepper Tabasco sauce may be 600-800. Jalapeno peppers range from 2500-8000 SHU. The capsaicin used to produce bear pepper spray is rated at.....wait for it......16,000,000 SHU (yes, 16 million). So it packs quit the punch!

You can read more about Counter Assault's products at And for more general bear safety tips see the safety page of our webpage:

Remember, the chances of being attacked by a bear are incredibly small, but it is always good to be prepared. Thank you to Counter Assault, for their support and encouragement.

Submitted by:
Chris Morgan
Director, GBOP

Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) meeting

Want to learn about grizzlies in the North Cascades? Want to get involved with the recovery of grizzly bears in the North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE)?

If so, you will want to attend the next Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) meeting. Periodically a committee of inter-agency personnel meets to address issues and progress relative to the recovery of the NCE grizzly bear population. These meetings are open to the public.

Spring Meeting 2009
North Cascades Ecosystem Meeting
Date: May 6, 2009
Time: 10 am - 3 pm. No lunch break is scheduled.
Location: Chelan County Fire District #3
Community Center
228 Chumstick Hwy
Leavenworth, Washington