Studying black bears
After years studying North America’s black bears in the conventional way, wildlife biologist Luke Robertson felt no closer to understanding the creatures. He realised that he had to win their trust. Abandoning scientific detachment, he took the daring step of forming relationships with the animals, bringing them food to gain their acceptance.
The insight this has given him into their behaviour has allowed him to dispel certain myths about bears. Contrary to popular belief, he contends that bears do not care as much for fruit as previously supposed. He also disputes claims that they are ferocious. He says that people should not be misled by behaviour such as swatting paws on the ground, as this is a defensive, rather than an aggressive, act.
However, Robertson is no sentimentalist. After devoting years of his life to the bears, he is under no illusion about their feelings for him. It is clear that their interest in him does not extend beyond the food he brings.