Sharks can smell blood in water up to a quarter mile downstream. Big deal. Bears have the keenest sense of smell of any animal on Earth. Black bears in California have been observed traveling three miles in a straight line to a deer carcass. Polar bears will follow their noses 40 miles to eat seals. Somewhere, a bear is smelling you right now.
You know what I'm thinking, Discovery Channel? This is a great opportunity to do one of those sciency shows. It'd be the kind of show where you have computer models of the inside of a bear's nose to explain how it smells so well. People like those shows because they make them feel smart, and they can pretend they're learning.
Children classically define monsters as big scary things with long teeth that drag you out of your bed in the middle of the night and eat you. News flash: bears do this.
In July of last year, a family of grizzly bears visited a campground near Yellowstone National Park in the middle of the night. The mother bear broke into three tents, attacking campers, the last of which she dragged 25 feet and killed. The next night they came back to do it again. Officials used the deceased campers tent and sleeping bag as bait to trap them. There is no reason to fear a fictional boogieman. Bears are real.
Show idea: "Bear Attacks." It would be like Friday the 13th, except real and with bears.
Bears get into wacky antics. They're like kittens, except they can and will destroy us. Sometimes they swim in pools. Sometimes they twirl sticks. Sometimes they guard marijuana fields in Canada.
When's the last time a shark did something funny? Oh, right. Never. Did you see that hilarious Discovery Channel show about the sharks in that zoo that wave to people? No. You didn't. Sharks would never do that. You're thinking of bears.
Sharks are ugly. They're floating blobs with fins, teeth and beady eyes. I am not interested in hugging one. Bears are adorable. If a bear grabbed me in the woods, a very slim sliver of my brain would think he was trying to give me a hug, a big bear hug, where I could get lost in his soft brown fur and never get cold again. We'd be best friends and cuddle all the time. A tiny portion of my brain would think that right before it killed me. Bears are symbols of warmth and comfort. We give our kids teddy bears to sleep with at night. The best kind of hugs are bear hugs.
Bears may be merciless killers, but they're easy to love. Look into the big, cute eyes of a grizzly bear, Discovery Channel executive that would be in charge of a decision like this, and tell him he's not good enough for his own week of violence-themed educational television shows. I bet you can't. And even if you can, it doesn't matter. If you're that close to a grizzly bear you're as good as dead.
Do you support Bear Week? Sign the petition! In one week I will forward this article and the petition to The Discovery Channel in the hope that it will convince them to make Bear Week a reality.
Kevin Corrigan had his first bear encounter when he was 18, during a three-day backpacking trip in the Adirondacks. All of Kevin's food was inside a pillow case, which was tied to a rope and suspended over a dam. In the middle of the night, a black bear pulled the food up by the rope and ate everything. It licked a tub of cream cheese clean. Kevin has had other bear-encounters since, but he has never been killed by a bear.
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