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Dogs can trigger bear attacks, warn experts after grizzly charges Bella Coola man





Video of a Bella Coola man trying to scare a grizzly sow out of his backyard with a dog and a shotgun is renewing warnings about the dangers of mixing bears and dogs.

Lawrence Michalchuk told CBC he was trying to scare the female bear off his property when he walked toward her in video posted on social media Oct. 14.

In the video, a shot is heard then the dog runs ahead of the man, closer to the bear.

In that split-second, the bear turns and charges. Michalchuk shoots at the bear’s leg — sending it head over heels — and giving him just enough time to get to safety in his house. 

He got lucky, bear attack experts say.

Lawrence Michalchuk, 54, shot a grizzly bear in his yard in Bella Coola, B.C. in October 2018. Michalchuk, a father of two, said the sow and her cubs wouldn’t leave his property and he was trying to protect his family. (Screenshot)

Bears and dogs can be a dangerous mix for humans, especially when all sides are territorial and “wound up,” said bear attack researcher Stephen Herrero after watching the harrowing video.

“It’s a dynamite situation,” said Herrero who believes the dog may have triggered the bear to attack.

Dog wild card in bear encounter

While many people hike with dogs, believing canines will alert them to the scent of danger and scare off a bear, animal behaviour, experts say that’s often not true.

“The dog will not keep people safe,” said Herrero, a retired University of Calgary professor.

With bears, a dog is a bit of a wild card, he said, especially if the dog is off-leash.

This bear is not deterred by the family dog and experts say that’s often the case. Bears habituate to barking or horn-honking. Electric fencing or pepper spray is advised as the best way to turn a bear away from your yard. (B.C. Conservation Officer Service/Twitter)

Herrero began an analysis of bear attacks in North America after he noticed that dogs were often involved.

“Most dogs, when they are around bears, aren’t exactly under control,” he said. “If they are not on a leash it takes a really well-trained dog to keep if from going after a bear.”

In the 92 attacks he analyzed between 2010 and 2014, more than half involved dogs and many were caused by dogs. 

Herrera did the informal study with Hank Hristienko, a biologist with the province of Manitoba, to update data he’d gathered for his 2011 study on carnivore attacks published in the Journal of Wildlife Management .

A dog barks at a grizzly bear in Sechelt, B.C. (Eliza Yates)

“In most cases the bear got wound up interacting or maybe fighting with the dog and then decided to shift its attention to the human,” he said.

Leash or leave dog at home

Wildlife safety experts also urge people to keep dogs leashed in bear country, or leave them at home.

Frank Ritcey, of WildSafe B.C., which aims to reduce human-wildlife conflict, says the most effective bear deterrent is pepper spray, and using electric fencing in a yard.

Jordan Carbery and a visitor as he recovers in Vancouver General Hospital from a bear attack. On July 3, he was charged by a female grizzly who thought he was a threat to her cubs. He punched and kicked the bear to escape, but was badly injured. (Jordan Carbery/Facebook)

Ritcey said recent research published in Scientific Reports blames human risk-taking and increased outdoor activities for an uptick in carnivore attacks.

Walking an unleashed dog and approaching a female animal with its young both make the top five list of risky behaviours.

Bowser: best friend or bear bait?

But dog owners say canines alert them that a bear is near. Some even argue that dogs have saved them from bear attacks.

Herrero says a well-trained, leashed dog can be a benefit.

Bella Coola park ranger Jordan Carbery often works with a so called “bear dog” and has seen both scenarios.

A dog’s bark can scare away a bear, but if chased a bear will often turn on the dog and chase it back to the dog walker.

Carbery knows the risk of a territorial bear. He survived a mauling last July.

A sow with cubs was eating apples near his yard when she charged Carbery to protect her young.

Carbery was hospitalized with a torn scalp, ear and other injuries.

Bella Coola Conservation officer Jordan Carbery says he was cooking bacon recently when he looked down off his deck to see the sow that he believes attacked him this summer. He says she looked hungry. (Jordan Carbery)

Last Saturday, he met Michalchuk, the man who shot at a bear in his yard this month.

Carbery watched video of the encounter and said the dog may have incited the bear.

But he said once that happened, Michalchuk had no choice but to shoot.

“It was hard to watch his footage. It was so close. That bear nearly got him. If he wouldn’t have had his rifle and hit him the way he did — she would have got him.”

CBC Vancouver News team gets the story beyond the headlines 1:01:02


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Top 5 Analytics Trends That Are Shaping The Future





Digital transformation is increasingly becoming the focus for many CIOs around the world today—with analytics playing a fundamental role in driving the future of the digital economy.

While data is important to every business, it is necessary for businesses to have a firm grip on data analytics to allow them transform raw pieces of data into important insights. However, unlike the current trends in business intelligence—which is centred around data visualization—the future of data analytics would encompass a more contextual experience.

“The known data analytics development cycle is described in stages: from descriptive (what happened) to diagnostic (why did it happen), to discovery (what can we learn from it), to predictive (what is likely to happen), and, finally, to prescriptive analytics (what action is the best to take),” said Maurice op het Veld is a partner at KPMG Advisory in a report.

“Another way of looking at this is that data analytics initially “supported” the decision-making process but is now enabling “better” decisions than we can make on our own.”

Here are some of the current trends that arealready shaping the future of data analytics in individuals and businesses.

  1. Growth in mobile devices

With the number of mobile devices expanding to include watches, digital personal assistants, smartphones, smart glasses, in-car displays, to even video gaming systems, the final consumption plays a key role on the level of impact analytics can deliver.

Previously, most information consumers accessed were on a computer with sufficient room to view tables, charts and graphs filled with data, now, most consumers require information delivered in a format well optimized for whatever device they are currently viewing it on.

Therefore, the content must be personalized to fit the features of the user’s device and not just the user alone.

  1. Continuous Analytics

More and more businesses are relying on the Internet of Things (IoT) and their respective streaming data—which in turn shortens the time it takes to capture, analyze and react to the information gathered. Therefore, while analytics programspreviously were termed successful when results were delivered within days or weeks of processing, the future of analytics is bound to drastically reduce this benchmark to hours, minutes, seconds—and even milliseconds.

“All devices will be connected and exchange data within the “Internet of Things” and deliver enormous sets of data. Sensor data like location, weather, health, error messages, machine data, etc. will enable diagnostic and predictive analytics capabilities,” noted Maurice.

“We will be able to predict when machines will break down and plan maintenance repairs before it happens. Not only will this be cheaper, as you do not have to exchange supplies when it is not yet needed, but you can also increase uptime.”

  1. Augmented Data Preparation

During the process of data preparation, machine learning automation will begin to augment data profiling and data quality, enrichment, modelling, cataloguing and metadata development.

Newer techniques would include supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement learning which is bound to enhance the entire data preparation process. In contrast to previous processes—which depended on rule-based approach to data transformation—this current trend would involve advanced machine learning processes that would evolve based on recent data to become more precise at responding to changes in data.

  1. Augmented Data Discovery

Combined with the advancement in data preparation, a lot of these newer algorithms now allow information consumers to visualize and obtain relevant information within the data with more ease. Enhancements such as automatically revealing clusters, links, exceptions, correlation and predictions with pieces of data, eliminate the need for end users to build data models or write algorithms themselves.

This new form of augmented data discovery will lead to an increase in the number of citizen data scientist—which include information users who, with the aid of augmented assistance can now identify and respond to various patterns in data faster and a more distributed model.

  1. AugmentedData Science

It is important to note that the rise of citizen data scientist will not in any way eliminate the need for a data scientist who gathers and analyze data to discover profitable opportunities for the growth of a business. However, as these data scientists give room for citizen data scientists to perform the easier tasks, their overall analysis becomes more challenging and equally valuable to the business.

As time goes by, machine learning would be applied in other areas such as feature and model selection. This would free up some of the tasks performed by data scientist and allow them focus on the most important part of their job, which is to identify specific patterns in the data that can potentially transform business operations and ultimately increase revenue.

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Waterloo drone-maker Aeryon Labs bought by U.S. company for $265M






Waterloo’s Aeryon Labs has been bought by Oregon-based FLIR Systems Inc. for $256 million, or $200 million US.

The acquisition was announced Monday. 

Dave Kroetsch, co-founder and chief technology officer of Aeryon Labs, says not much will change in the foreseeable future.

“The Waterloo operations of Aeryon Labs will actually continue as they did yesterday with manufacturing, engineering and all the functions staying intact in Waterloo and ultimately, we see growing,” he said.

“The business here is very valuable to FLIR and our ability to sell internationally is a key piece of keeping these components of the business here in Canada.”

Aeroyn Labs builds high-performance drones that are sold to a variety of customers including military, police services and commercial businesses. The drones can provide high-resolution images for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The drones already include cameras and thermal technology from FLIR. Jim Cannon, president and CEO of FLIR Systems, said acquiring Aeryon Labs is part of the company’s strategy to move beyond sensors “to the development of complete solutions that save lives and livelihoods.”

‘A piece of a bigger solution’

Kroetsch said this is a good way for the company to grow into something bigger.

“We see the business evolving in much the direction our business has been headed over the last couple of years. And that’s moving beyond the drone as a product in and of itself as a drone as a piece of a bigger solution,” he said.

For example, FLIR bought a drone company that builds smaller drones that look like little helicopters.

“We can imagine integrating those with our drones, perhaps having ours carry their drones and drop them off,” he said.

FLIR also does border security systems, which Kroetsch says could use the drones to allow border agents to look over a hill where there have been issues.

“We see the opportunity there as something that we never could have done on our own but being involved with and part of a larger company that’s already providing these solutions today gives us access not only to these great applications, but also to some fantastic technologies,” he said.

Aeryon Labs has done a lot of work during emergency disasters, including in Philippines after Typhoon Hagupit in 2014, Ecuador after an earthquake in 2016 and the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016.


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Inuvik infrastructure may not be ready for climate change, says study






The Arctic is expected to get warmer and wetter by the end of this century and new research says that could mean trouble for infrastructure in Inuvik.

The study from Global Water Futures looked at how climate change could impact Havipak Creek — which crosses the Dempster Highway in Inuvik, N.W.T. — and it predicts some major water changes.

“They were quite distressing,” John Pomeroy, director of Global Water Futures and the study’s lead author, said of the findings.

Researchers used a climate model and a hydrological model to predict future weather and climate patterns in the region. They also looked at data gathered from 1960 to the present. 

If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate — which Pomeroy said they are on track to do — the study projects the region will be 6.1 C warmer by 2099 and precipitation, particularly rain, will increase by almost 40 per cent.

The study also found that the spring flood will be earlier and twice as large, and the permafrost will thaw an additional 25 centimetres. While the soil is expected to be wetter early in the summer, the study said it will be drier in late summer, meaning a higher risk of wildfires.

John Pomeroy is the director of Global Water Futures. (Erin Collins/CBC)

“The model’s painting kind of a different world than we’re living in right now for the Mackenzie Delta region,” Pomeroy said.

He noted these changes are not only expected for Havipak Creek, but also for “many, many creeks along the northern part of the Dempster [Highway].”

Pomeroy said the deeper permafrost thaw and a bigger spring flood could pose challenges for buildings, roads, culverts and crossings in the area that were designed with the 20th century climate in mind.

He said the projected growth of the snowpack and the spring flood are “of grave concern because that’s what washes out the Dempster [Highway] and damages infrastructure in the area.”

Culverts and bridges may have to be adjusted to allow room for greater stream flows, Pomeroy said. And building foundations that are dependent upon the ground staying frozen will have to be reinforced or redesigned.

Pomeroy said the ultimate solution is for humans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This study is the future we’re heading for, but it’s not the future we necessarily have if we can find a way to reduce those gases,” he said.  

“It’d be far smarter to get those emissions under control than to pay the terrible expenses for infrastructure and endangered safety of humans and destroyed ecosystems.”


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