Imagine playing a game of golf on a course surrounded by Canadian Rockies mountains. You’re having a great game. Then, to your surprise, the next hole is blocked by 3 black bears.
This historic Jasper National Park scene depicts a similar event. These black bears had lost their natural fear of humans and were playing on the golf course.
In the era of this vintage postcard (part of a vintage Jasper National Park postcard folder mentioned previously), black bears were tamed by regular feedings by tourists. Not so today. Modern bear management strategies try to restrict close contact with humans for the safety of both the black bear and the humans.
A recent Parks Canada brochure I picked up at the park information booth points out the importance of giving bears some space. Now more than ever, bears rely on the habitat of national parks but they are becoming obstacle courses for the bears who must navigate around towns, campgrounds, roads, railways and trails to find food. It says that the best thing visitors can do for bears is to limit exposure. Bears that become habituated to humans are more likely to suffer from human caused deaths.