Monday, July 18, 2005

Bears, Berries, and Ethrel

While hiking this weekend in Kananaskis Country, Alberta (see post below), I came across a sign describing a technique they are using to minimize the chances for encouters between bears and humans in the region. In areas with high concentrations of both bears and hikers, the park is spraying Ethrel on the buffaloberry shrubs to get the berries to ripen and drop early to keep bears from entering the area later in the summer to forage. It's an interesting idea, and I'll be curious to see whether it is successful in altering the distribution of bears in the area (in theory, it should).

What was also interesting (and a bit funny), is that the sign also warned people not to eat the berries along the trail, because they had been sprayed. Yet in the next paragraph the text explained that Ethrel is used on many commercial fruits such as apples! But I'm not too worried.


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