Since 2000, bears have been responsible for 34 human deaths in North America. Sharks have only been responsible for 13, and some of those are debatable. Eric Reichard's death is included in that statistic, but, officially, he drowned after his diving regulator fell out of his mouth during a fight with a shark. There's a difference. Surfer Courtney Marcher is listed as a shark death, but there's no hard evidence and she had a history of epilepsy. Every person that was killed by a bear was killed by a bear. Bear's don't get assists from the ocean.
Obviously, it takes more than efficient human-eating to make for a great week of television. Bears aren't even the number-one human killers. Mosquitoes take that trophy. Even deer kill more humans per year than bears and sharks, simply by wandering into traffic. Maybe you could get a malaria special or highway dangers documentary out of that, but I'm already bored. I want Discovery Channel shows about an animal that is both murderous and adorable. I want Bear Week.
There is a 100% effective method for preventing shark attacks: don't go in the ocean. It's easy. Many people spend their whole lives outside of the ocean without even trying.
Bears live on land. That's where we live. Bears live in 36 states, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. They're everywhere, even Florida. Luckily, bears only attack outdoorsy people while they're hiking and camping, right? Wrong! That's what Adelia Trujillo, 93, of New Mexico probably thought, until a black bear broke into her house and killed her in 2001.
Jaws scared people out of the ocean, but there is no place to hide from bears.
Sharks are mindless killing machines. Bears are problem-solving killing machines. If you're camping in bear-country, you have to secure your food at night. There are many ways to do this. None of them work. The most common method is to hang food between two trees, 10 feet from either tree and 15 feet off the ground. Bears have learned that they can get to the food by cutting the rope securing it to the tree.
Many parks now require you to store food in a bear canister. Bear canisters are strong mini-barrels that are complicated to open. They were designed by humans for the express purpose of being unopenable by bears. They test bear canisters by giving them to zoo bears. They are the most effective method for bear-proofing food, but they are not 100% effective. Yellow-yellow, a smaller, middle-aged black bear in the Adirondack region of New York, figured out how to operate the unlocking mechanism of bear canisters using her teeth. Not only that, but she's been teaching other bears how to do it. Clever girl.
Sharks swim and they eat. That's it, and they have their own week of TV shows.
Hey Discovery Channel, here's a free idea for a show during Bear Week: Bear's Solving Puzzles. It's six hours long and more people watch it than the Superbowl. People pay a lot of money for commercials during things that have as many viewers as the Superbowl.