Discover the Link Between Bears and Mythology

Bear watching holidays are offered by some very reputable and expert wildlife travel companies. You can go bear watching in Europe, North America or Canada, depending on which species you want to see. Before you embark on a wildlife tour, however, you may be keen to learn more about this majestic animal’s place in their own world and ours.

Often feared, bears are also revered by many cultures and have been very much respected throughout history. Here is a brief insight into to their links to mythology.

Worship and Mythology Around the World

According to anthropologists, bears have been worshipped since prehistoric times – including Joseph Campbell, who studied their depiction in the culture of many of the fishing and hunting tribes of the past.

The ancient Finns (and other Siberian tribes) believed that the animal was the spirit of their forefathers, so nurtured huge respect for it – referring to it by several culturally significant names and endowing it as the national animal of Finland.

The Russians have a traditional fairy tale “Morozko”, in which the bad guy tries to kill a female and her cubs. He is punished and, as a consequence, has his head turned into a bear’s, which renders him ostracised by society.

The Scots have a fairy tale called “The Brown Bear of Norway”, which tells the tale of a girl who marries a handsome prince who then turns into a bear. Watching her lover take on this animal guise doesn’t change her feelings for him, and through her love he is able to regain his human form.

The animal also has a history of being worshipped in Eastern cultures, including the Chinese and Ainu people. In Korea, they are considered a symbolic animal, and legend tells of a god who set a female bear a very difficult test, which, if she passed, would allow her to reincarnate as a woman free to marry the god.

The people of the Alpine regions of Europe also hold a reverence for the animals. According to legend, St Corbinian tamed a dangerous bear and made it carry his bags over the mountains; while St Romedius is also said to have tamed one of the animals in order to get it to carry him from his secluded abode in the mountains all the way to Trento.

Even in our own, more modern, Western culture, the stories of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Berenstain Bears, and Winnie the Pooh are testament to the way we respect and honour these wonderful creatures.

It is fascinating to reflect on just how prominently the bear has featured in culture and mythology throughout the ages and across the world. For those about to travel to an exotic destination on a bear watching tour, it reinforces just how strong our relationship with this wonderful animal is.

Understanding How Black Bears React to Humans

If you’re booking one of the excellent bear tours offered by specialist wildlife travel companies, you should do some homework on your fascinating subject, including how these animals react around people within their habitat. When you embark on wildlife holidays like this, you are entering the world of the animals; you need to respect and appreciate how they think, why they react, and even what they may perceive when they see you.

Black Bears, in particular, are of great interest to nature lovers, but how exactly do these magnificent beasts react when they encounter humans?

Be Safe in the Habitat

Firstly, it is important to note that when you’re on organised bear tours it is very unlikely you’ll see any aggressive behaviour from the animals. Despite having a reputation for being rather frightening, they rarely attack humans and are, in fact, respectfully fearful of humans – preferring to avoid them whenever possible. That said, it is sensible to be wary and to know the signs to look out for. Here are a few tips on what to expect when you encounter one in the wild.

Entering Bear Habitat

Black Bears in the wild may act aggressively if they perceive a threat in their immediate environment, most often reacting if they are defending a source of food, or if a mother is with her cubs. If a bear feels threatened, it may ‘pop’ its jaw or swat its paw at the ground – and these are both signs to be wary of. There may be lots of snorting and blowing and even a charge or lunge towards whatever is threatening them in an attempt to scare it away. A bear isn’t usually looking for a fight – merely to warn a threat that they are unhappy with its close proximity.

If there is ever an encounter that involves a physical attack, it is usually because the bear has been surprised. Black Bear attacks have been mainly linked to mothers protecting their young. On the rare occasion a bear approaches a human in a submissive manner, it is more often than not simply out of curiosity. It can also be an adult exercising its dominance and, if this happens, the advice is to talk to the animal in a firm voice and move out of its way as soon as possible.

For those on bear tours, it is far more likely to see the animals at a distance or be in a protected hide – both of which, by default, signify a respect of its personal space. There is never a need to approach an animal closely, so it should not feel threatened and feel the need to react in an aggressive manner.

For anyone embarking on bear tours, safety is always paramount in the organisation of the itinerary, however it certainly pays to be aware of any wild animal’s behaviour patterns.

A Hilton Head Vacation to Remember

Vacations are an essential part of life. When work pressure has been building for too long, it is time to take that long awaited vacation. Some people decide to bring their friends, family or simply choose to relax by themselves on vacation. Whatever you choose is your prerogative. The site of your vacation, however, should be a place where you can relax and have fun. If you are going with other people, it is necessary to keep in mind: their preferences, a budget, and the number of days everyone can spare from work.

One of the preferred vacation sites these days is Hilton Head. This is a vacation you will cherish with family and friends. Hilton Head Island has an enigmatic appeal that draws in every visitor. The people are friendly and the land is beautiful. You will be delighted by the sights and sounds of the place. You can swim or suntan on the beautiful beaches, or you can simply read a book you have been waiting to finish forever. On a Hilton Head Vacation, you can do anything your heart desires.

The summers are fairly hot but the breezy winds will ensure that you do not feel the heat at its full potential. The winters are moderately cold and short. However, many people favor the fall and spring seasons. This is because the fall and spring seasons bring out the best in this island where history and modernization reside. The display of colors, the picturesque scenery and the friendliness of the residents is a welcoming atmosphere many visitors cherish.

A Hilton Head Vacation offers a myriad of activities. You can:

• Play golf or tennis at the respective facilities. The facilities sprawl over a large area. These facilities include world class clinics that are manned by professional coaches. If you are an enthusiast you can stay at a nearby hotel, so that you can play regularly. The golf courses are some of America’s best. You can bring in your own clubs or you can rent them. And if you are a beginner, you can take classes.

• Visit the restaurants that offer a range of delectable delicacies from around the world. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, you do not have to worry about your diet. They have enough resources to support your food habits with aplomb.

• Go for a walk on the beaches during low tide. You can have few adventurous experiences body surfing or jumping into the waves for a wild swim during high tide.

• Go bicycling on the bicycle tracks all around the island.

• Go shopping in this shopper’s paradise. If you like unique fabrics, cuts and styles from intimate boutiques, Hilton Head is the place for you. If you like branded material from well-known chain stores, there are also plenty to choose from on the island.

• Go on one of the popular tours to learn about the island, its culture, its people and history. The interesting thing about this island is that the modern civilization exists alongside the well-preserved culture of the Gullah Geechee. The people of the Gullah Geechee community are descendants of the West African people who were brought to America and enslaved on plantations. Their descendants, the Gullah Geechee people, have held onto their culture, language, traditions, lifestyle, customs, beliefs and art forms. Their history is entwined with the history of America. If you are interested in learning more, there are excellent tours available so you can learn more and gain a glimpse into history.