What happens when a bear attacks a person not far from the Magic Kingdom?
A bear in an area some 20 minutes from downtown Orlando where bears are known to be earlier this month attacked a woman walking her dog. State wildlife officials began looking for the bear where the mauling occured, a subdivision called Wingfield North, 115 custom homes secured by a 24-hour guarded gate entrance. They figured the bear probably went back into the nearby woods. Eventually, though, the wildlife officials caught a bear that may or may not have been the bear that attacked the woman walking her dog, and they killed it. They then caught a second bear that may or may not have been the bear that attacked the woman walking her dog, and they killed that bear, too. Bears, the Orlando Sentinel points out, are Florida's largest native land mammals. All of this made me think of Jon Mooallem's recently published book, Wild Ones, especially the section helpfully labeled Bears, in which he writes the following:
Large predators -- those able to rip us apart -- have understandably commanded a huge share of humans' psychic attention for as long as there have been humans. ... In the bear especially, Yale's Stephen Kellert argues, we see a creature a lot like us: it can walk upright, snores when it sleeps, and is roughly our size and shape. But it's also omnivorous, agile, clever, self-possessed -- all the admirable dimensions of ourselves that have been "diminished in modern culture." For many of us today, who spend our days slumped over spreadsheets or quarreling with our banks over hidden fees, bears look like the composed and competent survivors we wish we still were.