PETER FROST reports on an unexpected result of bear attacks in US National Parks
Authorities at the world’s oldest national park, Yellowstone in the USA are reeling from several bear attacks, two fatal, on visitors to the park last year, Yellowstone hasn’t had a bear related fatality for more than a quarter of a century.
Brian and Marylyn Matayoshi were camping and hiking on Yellowstone’s Wapiti Lake Trail for the Forth of July Holiday when they happened upon a female grizzly with young cubs; the bear attacked and killed Brian, 57, before running after Marylyn biting her daypack, lifting her from the ground, then dropping her. Marylyn, who survived, remained still and the bear left the area.
In a separate Yellowstone incident at about the same time 59-year-old John Wallace, was also killed in a bear attack. His body wasn’t found until Aug 26. There were no witnesses, so nobody can say for sure what caused the attack.
As well as these two fatal bear attacks in Yellowstone there were a further two bear attack fatalities in north America in 2011, one in Arizona and one in Canada’s Rocky Mountains.
You may think that these news items would depress the demand for camping holidays in areas where bears roam free but research over the years suggests exactly the opposite. In the past bear attacks, and especially fatal attacks have actually increased visitor numbers dramatically.
Strangely the effect is most pronounced in the German sector of the holiday market.
Attacks by bears on German holiday-makers in the Rockies in the past has seen the number of German visitors treble and the last time a German holiday maker was actually killed and partially eaten by a bear visitor figures the following year rocketed tenfold.
Similar results have been noted by coastal resorts after fatal shark attacks.
This article appeared in Caravan Industry Magazine in 2012