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Is the Real Fear Factor for the Sochi 2014 Olympics the Russian Bears?

Making top news in Russia last week was also the unseasonable weather much like in the United States, in fact its actually been too warm in most parts of Russia for the bears to hibernate at all this winter.

Last week it was also noted that here in the U.S. the Sierra Nevada bears are not in hibernation like they are supposed to be either, confusing both biologists and tourists alike.

Fears For Olympics In Sochi To Include Russian Bears?

There has been no shortage of fear raised lately about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, but besides the obvious and real threat, could the Russian bears be causing a fear factor of their own?

bears and hibernation

Photo By Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It may seem like nothing to fear- seriously, how dangerous could sleep deprived bears be, right?

Well, according to wildlife biologists as long as there is plenty of food, they are likely to be in decent moods, despite being a bit sleepy.

A professor from the Russian State Agrarian University noted the priorities of the Russian bear (or any bear) are food first and hibernation second-making reproduction third. Sounds about right- and not just bears.

The newspaper San Francisco Gate cautioned travelers to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe on Monday (January 20) to be on the lookout and be wary since man and bear encounters often lead to “problems” and that many videos and pictures will continue to surface as long as the warm winter conditions (in California) persist.

While there has not been any physically dangerous encounters with the alert California bears who normally hibernate between December and March, in Russia the story is slightly different.

Angry (Russian) Bears

Just last October the reports of an 88 year old shepherd in Russia who got into a literal brawl with a bear went viral, and an incredible incident it was. The octogenarian man named Yusuf Alchagirov was approached by a bear in a raspberry field where an altercation that involved the shepherd head butting the bear. The bear responded to his shenanigans by tossing the old man over a cliff-a fall which he survived.

The region of Russia where this incident occurred of Kabardino-Balkaria is less than a hour away from Sochi the nervous location of the 2014 Olympics.

It is not likely that Russia’s insomniac bears will be a more serious threat than terrorists or ‘Black Widows’, and the historical love hate relationship between Russians and their bears will likely provide another source of entertainment for brave Olympic travelers in Sochi.

In the video below, a dutiful Russian bear reminds us why zoos are circuses remain so popular, these wild and crazy animals make us laugh, and as Stephen Pursley noted “this bear is smarter than a lot of people I know (unfortunately)…”


Feature image By Menke Dave, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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