During the month of May the Animal Forest highlighted Bear Awareness Month. This week long event informed participants on the proper way to camp in bear country.
For example, never stash snacks inside your tent. Always keep them 200 feet away from your campsite. Food preparation areas and washing stations should also be no less than 200 feet from your active campsite.
Bear spray can provide protection to campers and hikers by blasting a strong pepper spray, which temporarily blinds the advancing bear and numbs their senses. However, the spray is only effective for close range confrontation. It’s best to avoid such circumstances, by being aware of your surroundings and practicing safe camping and hiking habits. A couple hints include: hike in groups, and only during daylight hours. Be aware of bear signs. Claw marks, tracks, or fur on the bark of trees can indicate a bear has been in the surrounding area.
Charles Towne Landing’s resident black bears were more than happy to demonstrate what happens when you don’t follow good camping practices! They quickly demolished a mock campsite the zookeepers created within their habitat, and tore the tent into shreds. Seeing first-hand the destruction a bear can inflict on a campsite in a matter of minutes, visitors took away an appreciation for their strength, and agility as well as smart tips on how to keep their camping trip fun, and bear-free.
–By Jillian Davis
Animal Forest Curator
Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site