Is that a grizzly bear? Nope.
Wildlife officials in North Idaho are using a new program to help educate people about bears in our region that lets you get up and close with one of them without any danger.
The look is real; the bear seems like its on the move, but its not going to be doing anything except help educate people.
“We wanted him on all fours so he didn’t have an aggressive look,” taxidermist Sean West said.
A mounted black bear is a new teaching tool that will help show the differences between grizzlies and black bears.
Earlier this year a man died near the Idaho-Montana border after the hunting pair pursued what they thought was a black bear but was actually a grizzly. There have also been multiple fatal attacks linked to grizzly bears at Yellowstone National Park.
“The public needs to know how to be responsible and respectful of wildlife,” Chuck Bartlebaugh with the Center for Wildlife Information said.
The bear will travel across North Idaho and Eastern Washington, areas where there’s a healthy black bear population. In North Idaho there are two recovery areas for grizzly bears, which are an endangered species.
“It’s one thing to have education in the Bonners Ferry area where we have worked hard at it over the years. But with the majority of the folks in Coeur d’Alene we want to get more information out about how to identify bears where the people are,” Phil Cooper with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said.
The bear being used to help educate people now was causing problems in Washington and had to be put down. Taxidermists spent around 36 hours to create the display to help educate people.
“I’m more proud of the fact it will be used for education,” Sean West said.
Telling the difference between a grizzly and black bear can be tricky; You shouldn’t use color and size, but there are distinct differences between the ears, claws and face shape.
The nose, the way it comes of the forehead is different. On a black bear it’s straighter and on a grizzly it looks more concave from the side. Grizzly bears also have shorter round ears, while black bears have tall ones. Grizzlies also typically have a pronounced hump.
“About 60 percent of the incidents of where grizzly bears killed, which is a threatened endangered species, is caused by misidentification,” Chuck Bartlebaugh said.
It’s just one of the many reasons this teaching tool is important.
“To understand that we do have two types of species of bears here and that they are wild animals. They need to be respected,” Phil Cooper said.