After polar bear was chosen as one of the symbols of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, it is easy to understand: we are waiting for a surge of interest in this mysterious beast, surrounded by a halo of rumors and speculation. Perhaps someone – even happen to see him in his natural habitat. How does the act face to face with the owner of the Arctic?
All imagine what it looks like white polar bear: it is quite large creature moving on all fours, weighing half a ton, with a developed, right – did titanic muscled, well-armed with tooth and nail. The king of the North. This killing machine. But how true is the opinion of most people?
Yes, the polar bear can rightfully wear a menacing title. Another thing is that in his mind there is no constant desire to send someone to the light. Even more than that, if there is a choice of a bear-kill what – that creature or satisfy hunger carrion, it will not shed the excess blood. Over the past 15 years, we went seven times to the North – to make movies about polar bears. We have much to learn about the features of the character of the northern bears, and each time they present new surprises.
Typical polar bear
Last time on Wrangel Island, we observed almost the entire population and represented approximately where each animal. We are primarily interested in the bear with cubs after they are released from the den, as well as their contact with the tribe. In total, we were followed for 18 individuals.
Since the beginning of the XXI century is clearly risen sea level, warmer climate. And animals spend most of their lives on the ice, we felt that the "soil", to which they are accustomed from infancy, is becoming increasingly unstable.
Recently, zoologists say that bears prefer to stay closer to land. This increases the so-called island populations, predators penetrate deep into the island to the mainland, and even messages about it there are more. Bear will feel great on the mainland, and the people who consider themselves masters of nature, it inspires some concerns.
Moving such large predators on land can have serious consequences, the destruction of the animals that will take their place in the food chain, polar bears instead of walruses, seals and other marine life.
Dangerous and bears direct contact with a person, and for both sides. If a bear learns that food is a biped, he deliberately goes to a "diet": catch the person is much easier than other animals, and the population of "kings of nature" is large compared with the other animals in the North.
For bears the danger lies in the fact that people tend to destroy everything in sight. For example, polar bears, brown like their counterparts, like to dig in the trash that surrounds himself with humanity. And homo sapiens, who met the beast at the dump, often starts to act aggressively.
So how do you actually look like a "typical white bear"? It turns out that his hair is not snow – white, as many may think. It usually has a yellow tint, rear may be contaminated with feces from front or the blood of victims, such as soot, dirt, soil components, including Bear seeks carrion. If the animal finds a landfill, there is likely to be and barrels of oil residues, and burnt tires, all of which he carefully studies, which of course, leaves marks on his skin. Undercoat, the bear is often dirty – green, as there breeding algae, enjoying the warmth and humidity Mishkin body. If the animal successfully hunted and found that – that in the garbage, it's easy to see in his saggy belly.
But despite the fact that the food in the harsh climate, a matter of life and death, polar bears do not stock. Perhaps because they have no competition for food in the sense that we are used to. Wolves, for example, are willing to fight for every morsel of food and chase each other out – for the last seed. Bears are also well aware that there are in a confined space, not only in the territorial sense, but also in the number of species, the temperature, the weather, their means of livelihood. And in the end everyone just enough. Therefore, if a bear produces a walrus, he will not show aggression to other individuals who will join him during the meal.
Many times we have seen this picture: some animals peacefully lunch, leaving the extraction only gnawed bones. And once we saw the spit nine adult bears that eat both walrus. Suddenly, they were approached by "our" bear children. Suffice it unceremoniously wedged into the center of the feast, took the remains of the carcass and slowly suffered their kids. All participants in the meal with great curiosity and seem offended followed her, but after 100 meters behind the first bear, and a 300 meter female with cubs was in splendid isolation. Apparently, what – the way she was able to convince colleagues that she was this production at the moment is more necessary.
Not surprisingly, the explorers who first lure bears, then complains when the animals, to what – the point is not getting food, bursting into their homes and ruining food supplies. Put yourself in the place of the beast. He sees that a being shared with him what – it was delicious. He also would not mind if people come up to his table and share a meal with a generous host. Bear just does not understand why this time he denied the "legitimate" delicacies. In such cases, appears not aggression, but naive animal.
Curiosity is not a crime
Polar Bears, in my opinion, non-aggressive animals. Generally attacks of wild animals to man in 99% of cases is a consequence of the individual errors. Animal shows aggression when he realizes that it is necessary for his livelihood, to preserve security. Therefore, a person in the wild, and come into contact with what – or a wild creature, shall conduct themselves in such a way that it did not attack him. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case. People continually provoke animals, often unknowingly, and sometimes the false courage, sometimes out – for the misinterpretation of their behavior. And that such a meeting is not over the death of a person or animal, we need to think of the nature of the beast and the damage that it can cause, to comply with a certain distance, talking with him.
Of course, you never know what the beast's mind. Therefore, despite the fact that it is always necessary to adjust to the good and the bad, rarely, during the filming of the bears, we knew that this type of activity is associated with risk. And to develop a specific set of security measures that are strictly observed.
The successful outcome of the meeting with the bear depends on many factors: the distance at which you are, on whether you can convince the beast respect, on whether he shows aggression or intrinsic curiosity. If you still think that the bear is going to attack, you can attempt to scare. To do this, stand up, take that – something in their hands to appear larger, shouting loudly to indicate that you are ready to attack. Perhaps the beast retreats, although you can not guarantee this.
If the bear rises on its hind legs, it is a very bad sign. Wrote about Rudyard Kipling is: do not enclose the world with a bear that walks like us.
My colleagues – zoologists regularly share experiences of these contacts, we tell each other who both acted in a certain situation, and try to account for their behavior all the mistakes and achievements of our predecessors.
Often for aggression polar bears people take their curiosity. This is a very intelligent and smart animals, and the natural curiosity they, like us, is not alien. These animals are deprived of facial muscles, that is, muscle activity muzzle bear difficult to understand, angry or he is kind, fun and playful, or, conversely, was tired and wanted to sleep. Curiosity bears expressed primarily in the fact that on a snowy plain, they look out for that – anything not white. Because everything in the tundra is not white, it may be prey, fits into food. Naturally, the people in colorful clothes in this sense for a predator is very attractive. So, by the way, was carried out and, unfortunately, in some areas is still illegal hunting of bears. Intrigued by what – something bright, they fall into the trap set by poachers.
Attract bears as technological smells, noises. Animals understand Wherever you – the noise, then there can be profit than – anything edible. Incidentally, the same high learning exhibit and bears are in zoos. In many cases, you can easily see traces samodressury.
Applying stereotyped movements, animals are asked to treat their visitors than – ever. From this it can be concluded that polar bears, despite its long isolation from the person to training in principle capable of.
Not be amiss to point out that the successful development of the North would be impossible without the polar bears. In particular, many months of Bering's expedition existed solely at their expense. The bears came out of curiosity to wintering camps, and people had no trouble with some dexterity to kill the animal. Animals people eat meat, their skins warmed. So much of what we know about the North, we have to polar bears. Now "host Arctic", of course, take into account all the mistakes of the past and become much more cautious. Still hunting for him, if the hunter is well prepared, is senseless murder. Hunters often report that their first attracted the rivalry between beast and man, the desire to find out who is stronger, who is smarter. So: the confrontation between the animal and the hunter, in this sense, as in the story about the hunt for wild boar, wolf, brown bear, is not in sight! Polar bear absolutely trusting, kind, considerate and willing to contact. Another thing is that there should be close to him for his bearish rules, which almost no one knows-except for those people who are professionally engaged in the study of these amazing creatures.