Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bear Necessities

Encounter of the safest kind.
Came across a little brochure at the visitor centre here in Cambridge Bay, entitled "Safety in Polar Bear Country." I thnk this was applicable to the ATV adventure last week. Nice to know we came out of it unscathed, having neither read the brochure, nor seen the alleged bears.
1. STAY CALM and call for help by radio or satellite phone. (Get contact numbers at your orientation to the park.). Right. Still looking for the little hut where the park ranger sits to orientate us. Found the outhouse. Maybe he fell in. Say what? Oh, there is no little hut with a park ranger. But the out house was real. Stinky, too. Um, radio? Satellite phone? You are joking, aren't you? And while we are at it, let's look at the calm for a moment. The bear might be well over a thousand pounds. I'm 120. QUIT LAUGHING, it might anger the bear (and me). When he stands on his hind legs, he's about 34 feet tall. I'm 5'7" ish. I think the only calm one will be the bear as he will know where his next meal is coming from.
2. Report location and time of incident. So now that I am standing in front of the calm bear, I have to report on my non-existent satellite phone or my non existent radio (my choice of which) where I am (on a rock in the middle of no where, about 45 minutes away from somewhere), and the time of the incident  (Meal time. For the bear.).
3. Report the number of people involved. No one. He hasn't eaten anyone yet. Maybe the calm bear can count how many of us there are. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Midnight Buffet.
4. Report extent of injuries and property damage. Assuming the bear is still calm, then mainly I will need new underwear and yoga pants. Ditto for the other members of the now party-less party.
5. Check that all people in the group are accounted for. Huh? Where's Dinner?
6. Report numbers and last locations of all polar bears involved in the incident. There's more than one? I can't see beyond the 40 ft. tall one standing, calmly, 6 feet in front of me. Maybe they're hiding behind him. Calmly as well, I hope.
7. Report reason for the attack if known. (Female protecting cubs, surprise, defending food source, etc.). They don't specify who is surprised. The bear is remaining calm, but he might be a wee bit surprised because the food source is right in front of him. The food source is a tad unhappy at this point, and since I can't see behind the 45 ft. tall standing bear, I don't know if he is defending cubs. Which would make him a her if he was. Is.
8. Report description of bears (male or female, size, markings, etc.). Got this one. No gender bias. Big. White. Black eyes, black nose. Hungry. But calm.
9. Stand by to provide additional information to rescuers. Stand. By. Yes. I have information for you. Missing Breakfast. Lost Lunch. Almost done like Dinner. GET ME OUTTA HERE NOW!

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