The Nightmarish Megalodon

Опубликовано11.11.2018 в 02:29АвторYozshunris

Top 10 Facts About the Megalodon

He squirms beneath his collar, cocking his sharp-eared head back to twitch his nostrils toward the Sun, taking in as much mid-summer air as he can.

The musky odor polluting the clearing stirs an instinct in him perfected by 12, years of selective breeding. When tracking a bear, Rooster can detect that scent from up to three miles away—but tracking isn't the reason he was brought out today. Suddenly, shouts bounce off the pine trees edging the clearing in the Sierra Nevada mountains. A black bear lumbers out of the box on the flatbed truck parked there and Rooster's handler frees him.

The dog shoots forward at the huge bear, barking and lunging, forcing it into the forest. But then, the bear comes to complete stop. It turns and rises up on its hind legs to face its pursuer. Rooster stands face to face with the menacing predator, barking louder than ever, dodging the bear's swipes.

After less than a minute, the bear collapses to all fours and hurries into the woods, determined to get as far away as possible. Rooster is a Karelian bear dog , a breed originating in Finland. It's one of a handful of agencies in the U.

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Instead of associating the location near its release with easy-to-access food, it remembers the scary animal that chased it and finds a new place to hunt and forage. Many dog breeds can be trained to track and chase big game. These clashes go back tens of thousands of years. In the Paleolithic era, both bears and humans sought shelter in caves and ate similar foods, possibly competing for those resources.

Chauvet Cave in France, famous for its 32,year-old paintings, contains crude depictions of prehistoric bears. Bear fossils, including skeletons, paw prints, and a single skull someone had displayed on a high ledge, have been recovered from the site as well. While revering bears, Paleolithic humans also hunted them for their meat and fur, and saved their bones to make weapons.

JT Humphrey Bears disappear each winter for hibernation and reemerge in the spring, and in North America, they became symbols of life, death, and rebirth in Indigenous cultures across the continent.

While some Native Americans very carefully hunted bears for meat, the practice was avoided by others out of awe and respect. In addition to traps and weapons, dogs were used to capture big game and eventually, people began breeding them for that purpose. Bears had been completely eradicated in some regions by first century CE. When Europeans started arriving in North America, they brought their attitudes toward bears with them.

The bear fur trade was a booming business in the 18th century, and bear meat was a common ingredient in recipes. Twenty-one bears were massacred in the span of a single Christmas Eve night in While bears were being subjected to unregulated slaughter, humans were chipping away at their territory. Forests were leveled from coast to coast and replaced with settlements, forcing many bears to seek food and shelter in human-occupied land and thus increase their chances of getting shot.

By the early s , black bear numbers in North America had dwindled from approximately 2 million before colonization to around , Grizzly bears were hit hard by the Europeans' westward expansion: Between and , the bears' distribution—which had once stretched from modern Alaska to the southern tip of Mexico—decreased by 95 percent.

The trend began reversing in the s as evidence mounted that native species were facing extinction due to human activity. One of the most common is bears rooting through unlocked garbage containers. Last year in the Lake Tahoe Basin, which is home to a black bear population of roughly today, 14 bear break-ins were reported in a single town, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The trespassers did thousands of dollars' worth of damage, destroying furniture, raiding refrigerators, even breaking a gas line in one home.

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And when bears get too comfortable on human property, they pose a threat to people as well. When one Lake Tahoe City resident confronted a bear in his cabin last summer, he came out of the encounter needing 12 staples in his head and 20 in his stomach. Houses and garbage cans can theoretically be kept safe from bears with better security, but free-range cattle are harder to protect.

In , a rancher from Island Park Idaho told the Capital Press that grizzlies had killed 14 of his cows in four years, and he blamed local wildlife officials for not doing more to stop them. Wynn-Grant tells Mental Floss that most bear conflicts that are called in are actually just sightings: Without assets like Karelian bear dogs at their disposal, wildlife officials have a few options when someone calls in a nuisance bear : They can visit the site of the incident to check things out, capture the bear and release it some place far away, or they can euthanize it.

That third option is a last resort for most agencies, reserved for bears that break into houses and act aggressively towards people. In the early days of bear management in the s , wildlife officers relocated bears hundreds of miles away from the sites where they were found.

No matter how much distance was placed between bears and their problematic feeding grounds, many were able to find their way back—sometimes in a matter of days. The protocol for bears that return to the same spot after relocation was and still is euthanization.

It wasn't until the early s that the first bear management groups added Karelian bear dogs to their relocation plans. And they were primed for the challenge. Fossil records indicate that an ancestor of the Karelian bear dog first emerged in northeastern Europe around 10, BCE.

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An early member of the spitz family —cold-weather dogs characterized by pointed ears, curled tails, and thick coats—these pets lived alongside Vikings in Scandinavia and were even buried with their masters. Nils Pedersen, Wind River Bear Institute As the centuries progressed, the dogs took on a specialized role as hunters of big game.

Dog owners in Karelia which is part of Russia and Finland today bred them for traits such as speed, strength, shepherding ability, and most importantly, fearlessness. Like other hunting breeds, KBDs were trained to silently track prey alongside a hunter, and then, once they had picked up the scent, pursue it on its own. Loud barking or baying would indicate to the hunter that the game had been cornered and was ready to be claimed.

Karelian bear dogs are still used to hunt this way in Finland. In other rural parts of Europe where bears are common, they're used as guard dogs. After earning a masters degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, Hunt became was one of the first biologists to use aversive conditioning on wild bears, a method in which an animal is trained to associate a place or behavior with pain, fear, or discomfort.

She help pioneer the rubber bullet and pepper spray conditioning methods, and was looking for new approaches when she learned of a certain dog breed protecting field researchers from polar bears in Norway.

In the s, Hunt imported her first Karelian bear dogs to the U. Those dogs became the foundation for the Wind River Bear Institute , a new facility where Hunt bred and trained the dogs for aversive conditioning.

Today, the Montana-based organization connects dogs to wildlife management groups as local as Glacier National Park and as far away as Japan. When the dogs are just a couple months old, they undergo a series of tests that determines the path they take. The initial trial may involve crawling through a confined area, something working bear dogs encounter frequently when chasing bears out from under people's houses or tracking them in their dens.

Later, trainers may lead puppies to an upright metal barrel to see how they react in the presence of something large and imposing. This gives trainers a chance to see which dogs are capable of tracking down wild animals, or at least which ones are willing to try.

Some of the few existing bear dog programs receive no state funding, so officials have to look else for their budget: Washington's program is " budget neutral ," with funding coming entirely from outside donations, and Nevada relies on donors and money from department employee's own pockets to maintain its bear dog program.

The institute brings the KBDs to places in need of a bear management plan, where they can raise awareness of the issue and show people what can be done to tackle the problem. The dogs at Wind River are trained to be friendly, which means they can be brought into elementary schools and meet kids who may be hearing about bear conflict issues for the first time.

Karelian bear dogs are still rare in the U. Many of the KBDs that are placed with bear management groups are never used for aversive conditioning—in Alaska, for example, they locate grizzly bear dens in potential oil fields so companies know which areas to avoid.

But in places like Nevada, Washington, and Alberta, Canada, federal agencies are using the dogs as a deterrent. During his time with the department, Stryker aided in the capture and release of over bears and traveled by snowmobile, chairlift, and helicopter to reach vital dens. He sired Rooster, the year-old KBD who's helped capture and release just as many bears as his father and is known as the "heart and soul" of the department's bear dog project.

Today the NDoW's Karelian bear dog program comprises seven dogs , with the division's two leaders—Lackey and Reich—caring for each animal as their own. The team includes three of Rooster's offspring Orca, Dazzle, and Sputnik , along with three puppies purchased from a breeder in Ontario Kondii, Gimbal, and Banjo. When a problem bear in Nevada has been tranquilized, tagged, and caged in a barrel for transport, the NDoW uses a few aversive conditioning strategies upon its release. First officers create a frightening situation for the bear by shouting at it or using noisemakers—a barking Karelian bear dog helps amplify the confusion.

This pushes the bear into a sprint, which means the Karelian bear dog on the scene can be sent to chase after it. Research has shown that the dogs are crucial to this process.

For a study co-authored by Lackey, 62 problem black bears in the Lake Tahoe basin were captured and fitted with radio collars. The bears were either released without intervention the control group or released with common deterrents like loud noises or rubber bullets the experimental group.

Half of the bears in the experimental group were also chased by hounds or Karelian bear dogs during their release. The benefits of using dogs on top of other methods is obvious to those who work with them. Rae Wynn-Grant is a part of the longest-running black bear research project in the U. The NDoW, which deals with a black bear population that straddles the Nevada-California border, has shown the California Department of Fish and Wildlife how to use the dogs on their bear releases.

Thanks to a new emphasis on non-lethal management methods, bear populations are recovering. Black bear numbers in North America now approach 1 million , and grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park have rebounded to full capacity. This trend will likely mean good business for the Wind River Bear Institute. He also sees the dogs being used to control polar bears in Arctic communities as climate change-related sea ice loss pushes the predators into populated areas.

The responsibility of reducing bear-human conflict ultimately falls with local communities, Lackey notes. For now, working dogs like Rooster still have a serious job ahead of them.

He squirms beneath his collar, cocking his sharp-eared head back to twitch his nostrils toward the Sun, taking in as much mid-summer air as he can.

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