I always thought it was funny how one of the most dangerous animals in North America is also commonly found as a kid's toy and always looks so cute with its plush fuzzy hair and big doe eyes.
In real life, however, teddy bears are not so fuzzy and cute, and you definitely shouldn't try to feed them or cuddle them.
Scrolling through the newsreel this summer, I've noticed a disturbing pattern: At least one or two bear attack stories keep popping up on a weekly basis.
A few stories
Just yesterday, a story came up of an Israeli Family enjoying a picnic of cold spaghetti at Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba, when a black bear crept up behind their youngest daughter and literally started sniffing down her back, ready to attack. The family ran off unharmed as they watched the black bear happily munched away at their spaghetti lunch. Looks like yogi was really eyeing that picnic basket.
Another incident involving a black bear at the same provincial park in Manitoba, but this time this 8-year-old girl wasn't as lucky. The bear attacked suddenly while she was in her tent, leaving her with scratch marks across the face.
In another story, a couple set off on a birthday hike in Manitoba and shortly after their departure a black bear suddenly showed up right behind them on the trail. The man was able to fend off the bear with his can of bear spray, but in the process - the bear also trying to defend himself - attacked the man by delivering a deep and painful bite on the hiker's knee.
And in one final more gruesome story, a B.C man was not just attacked, but violently mauled by a female grizzly bear when he found one of her cubs falling out of a tree in his own backyard. This guy is most definitely lucky to be alive.
Also, this video of a brown bear charging at a New Zealand man out on an adventure tourism paddle near Squamish B.C went viral this month.
When do bear attacks?
Although these stories sound very frightening and might make you think twice about exploring nature, they should serve as education and knowledge, and shouldn't completely deter you from enjoying the outdoors in Canada this summer.
Because when you zoom out and observe the high-level statistics on bear attacks, the picture becomes a little less gruesome.
Very few people actually die from bear attacks. Only 25 attacks have proven fatal in all of North American in the past 20-years. That comes out to an average of 1.25 fatal attacks per year.
However, some summers are worse than others in a region. For example, last summer British Columbia reported more than 20,000 reports of human-wildlife conflicts, ranging from cougar sightings to bear attacks.
As you can see from these stories, this summer bear sightings are spiking in Manitoba.
In order to avoid violent encounters with bears, the most important thing is for people to educate themselves on the different types of bears and their typical behavior around humans. Equipped with this knowledge you should have no problem going out and enjoying the last few months of summer in the great Canadian outdoors.