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Mountain biking in Bear Land!

Veterinarian Daniel Lopez talks about highly effective actions that each of us can incorporate into our daily lives for a better coexistence with bears, whether we're residents in their territory or just share the mountains while riding our bikes.

As a mountain biker, I've spent most of my time outdoors riding in the mountains of Mexico and Canada. I cherish mountain biking because it allows me to be fully present in the moment, completely immersed in the experience with just me and my bike. Or at least that´s what I thought. This perspective changed when I began to notice bears during my rides. I realized that many of us may not even be aware of how our presence in these beautiful mountains unintentionally endangers the incredible animals that call these places home.

- Lorena Garal

®Video by Ghost Creative Works for Wimok

After this encounters I started researching about bears. I spoke with biologists and veterinarians who taught me about their enormous significance. Bears control plant and animal populations, maintaining the balance of their ecosystems, which, in turn, keeps our mountains and national parks thriving. This not only provides us with more trails to ride but also ensures clean air for all.

Regarding mountain biking, it's crucial for all riders to understand that bears play a vital role. By dispersing seeds, modifying habitats, regulating herbivore populations, cycling nutrients, and scavenging, bears help keep our mountain environments and trails vibrant. In essence, protecting bears means safeguarding our beloved sport.

But how do bears influence the quality of the air we breathe? As omnivores, bears mainly feed on berries, nuts, and fish but occasionally hunt herbivores like deer and rabbits. By preying on herbivores, bears help control their populations; if herbivore populations were left unchecked, they could overgraze the vegetation in national parks and mountains, leading to habitat degradation and a loss of plant species.

- A decrease in vegetation can result in reduced air quality, as there are fewer natural filters to capture pollutants. This can lead to health problems, particularly in densely urbanized areas and for individuals with respiratory conditions. - Moreover, vegetation has a cooling effect through a process called evapotranspiration, where plants release water vapor into the atmosphere. This can help reduce local temperatures and improve air quality by moderating heat and humidity. A decrease in vegetation can lead to "urban heat island" effects in cities, where temperatures are higher than in surrounding rural areas.

Driven by this newfound knowledge, I was eager to explore ways to contribute to bear conservation so I sat talked to Veterinarian Daniel Lopez who uncovered straightforward yet highly effective actions that each of us can incorporate into our daily lives. These steps help us foster harmonious coexistence with bears, whether we're residents in their territory or visitors to their majestic domains:

®Video by Ghost Creative Works for Wimok. In collab with vet Daniel Lopez.

Additional Insights on Black Bears

Here are some of the leading causes of death for these bears:

1. Habitat Reduction - In recent years, human expansion into the mountains, driven by a quest for larger and more luxurious homes closer to nature, has encroached upon black bear territory. This expansion has resulted in the loss of the bears' habitats and food sources, forcing them to venture closer to human areas. Such close proximity is dangerous for both humans and bears, so it's crucial to avoid it.

2. Suffocation or Intestinal Problems Caused by Plastic - For bears is very important to save their energy for hibernation by seeking food with minimal effort. Unfortunately, the garbage left behind during activities in national parks, such as Chipinque in Mexico, or in trash cans outside our homes in bear-inhabited regions like Whistler and surroundings, often ends up in their intestines, poisoning or suffocating the bears.

3. Traffic Accidents - Bears sometimes are victims to traffic accidents when attempting to cross roads in search of food or potential mates.

Some characteristics

Color: Dark black, Black, Brown called Cinnamon Black Bear, and beige, called Spirit Bear.

Size: Males typically measure between 1.40 and 2 meters in length, while females are generally 1.20 to 1.60 meters long.

* Side Note: Despite their cute appearance, don't be deceived; black bears are one of the largest carnivores in their habitats. While they are not naturally aggressive toward humans, they can become accustomed to our presence. If you encounter one, refrain from approaching, taking photos, or feeding it. Instead, make yourself appear larger by raising your hands, create noise, move your arms, and calmly back away (avoid running)."

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