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Grizzly bears are not attracted to menstruating women

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Jackie Gregory
WVoN co-editor

Grizzly bears are not attracted to menstruating women. That’s the conclusion of an academic research project, which appears to lay to rest a persistent belief that periods put women campers in the US at risk.

The National Park Service has confirmed that there is no evidence to suggest that bears are attracted to the odours of menstruation and so more likely to attack women.

From 1980 to 2011, 43 people were injured by bears in national parks and 79 percent of these were men. Of the nine women injured, there was no evidence that menstruation odours played any part in the attacks.

This has been a persistent rumour since 1967 when two women campers were mauled by bears in separate incidents.

Bitch Media argues that more women are worried about sexual assault from males rather than killer tampons and calls on the National Park Service to address this.

“I have to wonder whether this paper wasn’t just another way for the National Park Service (NPS) to publicly call into question women’s ability to thrive and survive in the wilderness without addressing real issues of safety for women in the parks,” writes breekessler.

As Mother Jones points out: “It implies that the wilderness is a masculine domain, and that a woman’s place is indoors – for her own safety, of course.”

But women visiting the Arctic Circle should beware polar bears. According to BearSmart tests carried out in 1993 found polar bears ate used tampons but ignored unused ones.

However, even if it is now safe to go into the woods, the National Park is still advocating caution.

It advises campers to: “Place all used tampons, pads, and towelettes in double zip-loc baggies and store them unavailable to bears, just as you would store food. This means hung at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from the tree trunk.”

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