Monday, August 8, 2011

Pepper spray may effectively ward off wild animals

When people think of increasing their personal safety with pepper spray, they often assume that they will need to use it in the event of an attack by another human. However, aggressive animals can be just as dangerous and sometimes even more so than other human beings.

Recently, a group of campers were attacked in New Jersey in their own tents, according to The Wall Street Journal. A black bear came across the individuals who were staying in the woods along the Appalachian Trail and quickly became aggressive. It tried to grab one of the boys out of the tent before camp counselors could call for help.

The bear fled shortly after the initial attack, but attempted to raid the camp once again just moments later. Wildlife officials shot the animal in the neck before it ran into the woods. This instance is one example of when carrying an animal repellent or pepper spray might be necessary in an area where wild animals reside.

Black bears are not the only animals that have a history of becoming aggressive, however. Another animal in the same family, the grizzly bear, is renowned for causing harm when coming into contact with humans.

In 2004, one man who was hiking through Yellowstone Park came face-to-face with a female grizzly bear and her cubs that soon resulted in a violent struggle, according to The Denver Post. Denton Turner was viewing birds when he was approached by the bear that began to attack him upon feeling threatened.

As soon as the bear started to aggressively pursue him, Turner played dead in the fetal position on the ground. The animal clawed at him and bit him once before walking away, but he lives to tell the story today.

"I never felt pain at all during the whole encounter," Turner told the news source. "I just laid there as long as possible. I don't think I panicked until blood started appearing in my shirt."

Today, Turner spends his time informing other campers of things to avoid while spending time in the woods. It is important to keep all food tucked away where it cannot attract animals. Keeping pepper spray on hand can also be beneficial in the event of an attack.

Yellowstone National Park is one of the country's greatest natural treasures and a popular place for outdoor enthusiasts. However, Turner is not the only one who has ever endured an attack while visiting the forest.

Recently, a man was attacked while at the Park by a grizzly bear that had a reputation for approaching humans for food. The animal had regularly been given food by park visitors and had become accustomed to eating in this fashion.

Although the grizzly bear was only four years old, it weighed 258 pounds and posed a serious threat to the man it attacked at Yellowstone Park. He threw his backpack at the animal, which distracted it long enough for him to run away. When park officials arrived, they euthanized the animal which had a history of approaching humans.

Wildlife experts encourage campers to make sure that all of their food is properly secured while visiting the woods and warn against feeding the animals. Those who want to increase their personal safety can purchase pepper spray as another precautionary measure. When used properly, it can temporarily blind an animal and give an individual the opportunity to run to safety. It can be especially effective when approached by an aggressive animal, such as a bear. 

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