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Old 03-30-2011, 01:03 PM   #976
BLUE(UK)
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Hi guys,tremendous undertaking.

I will be interested in this IF i can get the finances,time off work and most likely buy a bike out there to use and somehow insure. I'd most likely try and do the whole lot in one hit(35days or so) and most likely 2012/2013.

Main thing which has me thinking is camping and BEARS!! I have never shot anything more than a .22 air rifle which wouldn't even stop a bunny rabbit!!
Are bears and other dangerous animals in ALL the areas? Would one be safe so long as they dont leave food out or do bears like to have a bit of human?

I guess for locals my questions seem quite silly but they are genuine.

Cheers.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:18 PM   #977
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Originally Posted by BLUE(UK) View Post
Hi guys,tremendous undertaking.

I will be interested in this IF i can get the finances,time off work and most likely buy a bike out there to use and somehow insure. I'd most likely try and do the whole lot in one hit(35days or so) and most likely 2012/2013.

Main thing which has me thinking is camping and BEARS!! I have never shot anything more than a .22 air rifle which wouldn't even stop a bunny rabbit!!
Are bears and other dangerous animals in ALL the areas? Would one be safe so long as they dont leave food out or do bears like to have a bit of human?

I guess for locals my questions seem quite silly but they are genuine.

Cheers.
maybe I'll join you and keep my steaks in your tent?
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:23 PM   #978
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ollowing best practise (keep food away from camp, etc) I've never run into an issue. I have heard of a few instances where folks come own a trail and scare a mother bear to one side and her cubs to the other. Getting between a mom and her kids is a bad situation. The odds of this happening are darn slim mind you.

Years ago I attended an outdoor school and one of the classes that stuck with me was when a park ranger informed us that bears are like humans. Some are just arseholes. Same goes for sharks in the ocean from what I hear.

Do a bit of reading on what to do if you encounter a bear and how to prevent encountering one in the first place and you'll be fine.

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Old 03-30-2011, 02:11 PM   #979
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A bit about bears:

Bears are not everywhere in Canada, but there are a lot of them, especially in the forested areas (which is a lot of the country) and the far north (polar bears). On the prairie in Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta, there generally are no bears. Most bears in Canada are black bears, which are not as big as some and are generally more timid. The Alberta and BC parts of the ride will pass through grizzly territory in the Rockies. Grizzlies are bigger and tend to be more agressive than black bears, but there are very few of them in the regions the TCAT passes through (I think there are only estimated to be about 500 grizzlies in Alberta).

Generally bears are not too dangerous. They are very timid, and will run away if spooked. Even grizzlies try to avoid human contact if at all possible. They do like our food, however, especially anything sweet or salty (or good Canadian Bacon!). Also things like toothpaste, mouthwash, and even deodorant can attract them. Bears have a very keen sense of smell, and can smell these things from miles away. They are also quite intelligent and tend to be curious. This coupled with their timidness often means that they will want to observe you, but from a distance.

Bears do not hunt people. It may have happened somewhere at some point, but your odds of getting hit by lightning on the TCAT are probably better than being hunted by a bear. When a person is attacked by a bear it is usually for one of two reasons: 1. The person surprised the bear (i.e. came around a corner quietly) or 2. The person got too close to a sow with cubs (yes, a female bear is referred to as a "sow" - like a pig).

With a motorcycle, you can often avoid problem number 1, as motorcycles tend to make more noise than hikers or mountain bikers. However, because you can be moving faster you can still surprise a bear by approaching too quickly. Also, you'd be surprised how quiet a stock DR650 can be when heard from around a corner in the mountain forest. So while you're not likely to surprise a bear on a motorcycle there is a small chance you could.

Some basic bear rules to follow:
1. Make noise - this will alert bears to your presence. If they know you're there they'll likely watch you from a safe distance and if startled will run rather than attack.
2. String up your food/toiletries in a tree at least 100 ft from your campsite. Hanging them from a thinner branch about 10 to 15 feet off the ground usually works. This way, if any bears are in the area they'll be drawn to this point rather than right into your camp. Then when you come out of your tent to see what the hell is going on they'll be far enough from you that they'll flee instead of fight.
3. If you surprise a bear and it looks agressive, slowly back away and talk in a low voice. Don't turn and run - bears are as fast as horses so you'll get run down before you get 10 steps. In the wild, bears express submissiveness to other bears by backing away slowly and calmly, with their heads down. People can do this as well (although it could be tough to be calm while you're filling your shorts).
4. If you even see a bear, there is a 95% chance it will just run away from you. Even so, stay a good distance away - the further the better. Even if it looks non-threatening, that can change if you get too close.

On all my rides through grizzly country I've only ever seen one bear, and she was running as fast as she could away from us. Follow the rules above, and don't worry too much about bears - they aren't that dangerous unless you're too close.

If you run into a mountain lion, on the other hand, you should make yourself look as big as possible and be prepared to fight. Hold open your jacket to make yourself look wider. Yell at it. It will probably back away. A full grown person is pretty big prey for a mountain lion, so they usually won't attack unless they're big themselves or they're starving. There is the occasional mountain lion even on the prairie, but in all my years of riding around Sask, AB, and BC I've never yet seen one in the wild.

Anyone else have anything to add? Confirm or deny the above info? Let me know.
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:14 PM   #980
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If a grizzly attacks at night it's playing, if a black attacks at night its feeding...or so I've been told.

A story from a lad in Ontario last summer.


Gerald Marois heard the bear before he saw it.
“I turned around and he was about 50 feet away — one of the biggest bears I had ever seen in my life.
“He looked at me and moved sideways a bit, I start backing up and he just charged me. He came full blast, man.”
Marois, 47, a retired steelworker and experienced hunter from Waubaushene, was mauled by a large black bear last Tuesday evening in a remote wooded area about 30 km northwest of Orillia.
He was airlifted to Sunnybrook hospital, where he gave the Star an exclusive and terrifying account of his near-death encounter.
Marois was planting a food plot in a small clearing about 150 feet inside the bush line, where he planned to hunt deer in the fall — “My Dad taught me that’s where you get the big buck” — when the bear came up from behind him.
“His head was huge, his eyes were really far apart from each other and he had tiny, tiny ears, which is the sign of a huge boar — probably 600 pounds.”
When the bear charged, Marois said he turned around and ran toward a nearby oak tree — “The one I wanted to put my tree-stand in” — and climbed three-quarters of the way up.
The bear followed him up.
Marois shakes as he tells the story from his hospital bed, his arms, legs and face covered in deep gashes.
Marois said he tried to fight the bear off from the trees upper branches, but it kept coming up after him.
“I was hitting him on the nose and on the head, trying to hurt him, and every time I hit him he was scraping me and just pulling on my boots.”
The bear pulled one of his boots off and started biting the bottom of his feet.
“Then he dragged me almost to the ground.”
Marois tried and tried to get away from the bear by climbing farther up the tree, but the bear repeatedly dragged him down.
“I was kicking him with the other boot and he grabbed that boot and he ripped it right off.”
The bear then tried to rip off Marois’s chest waders.
“That was messing him up, because they were coming back like an elastic, eh? And it was hard for him to rip them off.”
But the bear eventually got them.
“Then he started eating my flesh.”
Marois said he watched as the bear started eating into his right calf.
“He was eating my meat and he was licking the blood and licking himself and just enjoying every bite of it.
Marois suffered his worst injuries to his legs, which required a skin graft to repair. They look torn apart and scrawny when he lifts up his hospital gown.
“He ate my whole calf.”
Marois says he made at least 10 attempts to climb away from the bear and it kept coming after him.
“I was trying to get away from him in every direction that I could in that oak tree, but he kept on dragging me down; he wanted me down on the ground.”
Marois, who said he forgot his bear spray at home, then turned to the only weapon he had.
“I got my lighter out” — a regular cigarette lighter — “and I started burning his face.”
Marois said when he shoved the lighter in the bear’s face it clawed him in the head.
“And that was it with the lighter, eh? No more lighters.”
Proof of the bear’s swipe comes in the two long rows of stitches on the top and side of Marois’s head.
“I got really weak from that hit. I had barely nothing left, so I told God I was putting my life in his hands.”
He said he prayed to God to send his guardian angel to protect him, because he couldn’t fight the bear off any longer.
At that moment, the bear threw Marois from the tree — Marois figures about 20 feet — and he landed with a thud and a loud groan.
When he looked up he watched the bear dive out of the tree in the opposite direction.
“It seemed like God scare him, man. People don’t believe in God, but I’m telling you, man, something scare him. Because he got scared, he jumped in the rough and he took off.”
Marois said the attack definitely lasted more than 15 minutes, though he says it “felt like forever.”
But he knew he still wasn’t safe.
He heard the bear roaming around him, gnashing his teeth and making a guttural barking noise Marois called a “bawl” — the same noise it made before charging at him.
“I was sure I was dead. I told God, ‘Keep your hand over me, protect me.’”
Marois called his wife and then 911, but the rescue team and emergency crews couldn’t find him in the thick bush.
It took rescuers — with the help of Marois’ wife, Louise Beauchamp — more than an hour to find him. All the while Marois could hear the bear nearby.
Eventually the rescuers found him, and with Marois’s legs ripped to shreds, they moved him to a clearing where the air ambulance helicopter could land.
“That’s when I finally could breathe.”
The next thing Marois remembers is waking up in the hospital.
Marois’ health has been improving every day, but doctors tell him he may need plastic surgery to fix his legs. He says he has nightmares about the attack every time he sleeps.“It’s extremely hard for me to rest.”
Though he sometimes struggles to tell the story, Marois speaks angrily about the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in Ontario more than 10 years ago.
“I want (Premier Dalton McGuinty) to reconsider the spring bear hunt, so this doesn’t happen no more.”
Mike Harris’s provincial government ended the spring bear hunt in 1999 after it had been in place for 30 years. Critics called the spring hunt “barbaric” because it often left behind thousands of orphaned cubs. All other Canadian provinces with bears have spring hunts except Nova Scotia. Ontario still has a fall bear hunt, which starts in September.
A spokesman for Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources said Friday that they thought the bear may have mistaken Marois — bent over and wearing chest waders — as a deer.
But Marois believes the bear was tracking him.
“He didn’t mistake me for nothing. That bear wanted to maul me; he was hungry and he came to get me.”
The ministry says bear encounters are not on the rise in the province, but Marois says he and his neighbours have seen different.
“We live up north, the bear are coming in our town, in our kids’ schoolyard. They walk the streets with their babies.
“I want the population of Toronto to be aware that they’re not scared of us. They roam the forest and if they’re hungry, they’ll get you, man. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Marois said his rescuers — a combination of OPP officers, paramedics and Port Severn firefighters — risked their lives entering the bush the way they did, not knowing if the bear was still in the area.
“I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
Marois, who has been living in the Waubaushene area for more than 20 years, comes from a hunting family in rural Quebec.
“I was born with a rabbit snare and a pellet gun in my hands.”
But now he says he may never hunt again.
“It will be really hard to go back in the bush after this.”
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Deadly99 screwed with this post 03-30-2011 at 02:21 PM
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:36 PM   #981
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:17 PM   #982
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Chris's posting is quite good, and the UDAP product is the good stuff.

This discussion is interesting, because I'm used to this quickly turning to guns. Americans love their guns, but there is a debate about the effectiveness of guns vs. pepperspray. Studies show spray is more effective. Not many people own a gun powerful enough to stop a charging bear. They think they do, but there's a misconception about what it takes. It takes not only a lot of power, but also a lucky shot, as you must either destroy the brain, or the shatter the shoulder blade to drop a bear. Anything else, and it's still coming at you, and now it's really pissed, and will not stop until you're DEAD. They have huge constitution, will to live, and a charging bear can only be stopped by overwhelming damage delivered by a large slow bullet.

All that being said, I guess guns aren't so easy to carry on a motorcycle, which is why it didn't instantly turn into that.

So how to stay safe? Chris has a lot of it. Bears are typically scared of people and will run away. Les Stroud actually says a moose is much more dangerous. As much noise as a motorcycle makes, it's still possible to surprised animals. I've done it. 3 of us on bikes on a trail surprised a moose, it started running down the trail, but couldn't turn off until it could slow down first.

So most bears will run away. Or, they will assess you, making popping noises with their mouth, stomping the ground... these are actually good signs that it's nervous. You have a good chance of scaring it away if you stand your ground, make noise, look big, etc. If the bear does attack, play dead, and it will likely leave you alone.

If the bear is stalking you from behind, or quietly watching you from in front, those are trouble signs. If the bear attacks, prepare to fight. Don't play dead.

There are many good videos on YouTube.

Overall, this is not a big issue. As stated, you're much more likely to be hit by lightning on the trip.

Also, you're more likely to have trouble with bears near big campgrounds. These bears hang around, eat garbage, and learn that humans are not a threat. In the wilderness, you're lucky to even see a bear. I think the Park Rangers are adopting the wrong policy regarding bears. They typically say to act submissive, back away, etc. This is sending the wrong message, that humans are pushovers, and we supply food. I think they should change the policy to "spray early, spray often".

Bears don't hunt skunk. And there's a reason for that.
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:41 PM   #983
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I think seeing bears and other wildlife along the route adds to the experience as long as it's not over a food filled ripped open pannier or a wet nose on your cheek in the middle of the night.... With blacks bears being most common that is what you'll likely see on the western end of the TCAT...

On Vanisle we do have a small population of grizzlies but the sightings are still rare with only a few encounters each year... I live on a small Island between the mainland and Vanisle and 2 out of the last 3 years we've had a grizzly reside here for a couple months while on it's mainland/island migration ... I always carry my camera and an extra load of awareness to whats around me when out hiking but so far I've only managed to get pictures of his tracks, and maybe that's best...

Black bears on the island are a different story as they are everywhere, especially towards the northern end and during the spring it's not uncommon to see upwards of 20 while out on a dayride...

The Island has a large cougar population but sighting them is rare because of their reclusive nature... I spend a lot of time in the back country and usually only see 1 or 2 cats a year... Last year I had one cross the road and then stop and watch me from the edge of the forest as I fumbled in my tank bag for a camera... Just as I was bringing the camera up he melted into the environment dashing my hopes for my first live cat picture...

The Sasquatch is another rare critter out there that is rarely encountered... I here it likes shiny stuff and that is what keeps the guys on cruisers out of the backcountry... The Dualsport guys have learned to go easy on the chrome for that very reason...
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:17 PM   #984
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There is a saying: Do you know the difference between a black bear's and a grizzly bear's dung?........ A grizzly's smells like bear spray. In all seriousness though, it is (somewhat) common knowledge that as long as you take the precautions as mentioned earlier (safe food storage, loud noises etc.) Your chances of a negative bear encounter is slim. In most Ontario dumps, you will have black bear sightings and the same holds true for campground dumps and garbage in general. In the bush bears are more likely to hunt rather than scavenge for food but if they small a free meal well than....... However Canada covers a LOT of land and the bear population per acre is pretty sparse. Although I joke about it, bear spray would be a good idea to keep in the tent with you and will repel most curious bears. While in the back country I also like to sleep with my hatchet beside me but this is more of a false security because in reality I would likely have little hope facing and angry bear with a mini axe....... but still better than defending myself with a lighter! As far as cougars go..... From what I understand there are two types and both are dangerous!!! One will stalk you through the woods and the other, in dark corners of bars that play '80s music. Note that I sometimes mistake the latter for the previously mentioned Sasquatch! Personally I have no idea how to avoid either but my advice would be to forget trying to distract them with a ball of string!

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Old 03-30-2011, 04:27 PM   #985
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Originally Posted by kiffernathan View Post
A bit about bears:

Bears are not everywhere in Canada, but there are a lot of them, especially in the forested areas (which is a lot of the country) and the far north (polar bears). On the prairie in Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta, there generally are no bears. Most bears in Canada are black bears, which are not as big as some and are generally more timid. The Alberta and BC parts of the ride will pass through grizzly territory in the Rockies. Grizzlies are bigger and tend to be more agressive than black bears, but there are very few of them in the regions the TCAT passes through (I think there are only estimated to be about 500 grizzlies in Alberta).

Generally bears are not too dangerous. They are very timid, and will run away if spooked. Even grizzlies try to avoid human contact if at all possible. They do like our food, however, especially anything sweet or salty (or good Canadian Bacon!). Also things like toothpaste, mouthwash, and even deodorant can attract them. Bears have a very keen sense of smell, and can smell these things from miles away. They are also quite intelligent and tend to be curious. This coupled with their timidness often means that they will want to observe you, but from a distance.

Bears do not hunt people. It may have happened somewhere at some point, but your odds of getting hit by lightning on the TCAT are probably better than being hunted by a bear. When a person is attacked by a bear it is usually for one of two reasons: 1. The person surprised the bear (i.e. came around a corner quietly) or 2. The person got too close to a sow with cubs (yes, a female bear is referred to as a "sow" - like a pig).

With a motorcycle, you can often avoid problem number 1, as motorcycles tend to make more noise than hikers or mountain bikers. However, because you can be moving faster you can still surprise a bear by approaching too quickly. Also, you'd be surprised how quiet a stock DR650 can be when heard from around a corner in the mountain forest. So while you're not likely to surprise a bear on a motorcycle there is a small chance you could.

Some basic bear rules to follow:
1. Make noise - this will alert bears to your presence. If they know you're there they'll likely watch you from a safe distance and if startled will run rather than attack.
2. String up your food/toiletries in a tree at least 100 ft from your campsite. Hanging them from a thinner branch about 10 to 15 feet off the ground usually works. This way, if any bears are in the area they'll be drawn to this point rather than right into your camp. Then when you come out of your tent to see what the hell is going on they'll be far enough from you that they'll flee instead of fight.
3. If you surprise a bear and it looks agressive, slowly back away and talk in a low voice. Don't turn and run - bears are as fast as horses so you'll get run down before you get 10 steps. In the wild, bears express submissiveness to other bears by backing away slowly and calmly, with their heads down. People can do this as well (although it could be tough to be calm while you're filling your shorts).
4. If you even see a bear, there is a 95% chance it will just run away from you. Even so, stay a good distance away - the further the better. Even if it looks non-threatening, that can change if you get too close.

On all my rides through grizzly country I've only ever seen one bear, and she was running as fast as she could away from us. Follow the rules above, and don't worry too much about bears - they aren't that dangerous unless you're too close.

If you run into a mountain lion, on the other hand, you should make yourself look as big as possible and be prepared to fight. Hold open your jacket to make yourself look wider. Yell at it. It will probably back away. A full grown person is pretty big prey for a mountain lion, so they usually won't attack unless they're big themselves or they're starving. There is the occasional mountain lion even on the prairie, but in all my years of riding around Sask, AB, and BC I've never yet seen one in the wild.

Anyone else have anything to add? Confirm or deny the above info? Let me know.
Good advice,

When a cougar is going to attack it kind of goes into a focused trance and anything that can snap it out of that trance helps your chances... Shrill noises like a yell or a whistle, throwing objects and actually slapping a stick towards it can get it to back away... And don't commit to doing anything that its normal prey will do like running or even turning your back on it... If you do scare it off it will likely not go far so keep a hand full of rocks or that big ass stick ready in case you have another go...

I managed to thwart an attack many years back getting the cougar to stop it's charge on the final bound... By making myself look bigger the cat stopped about ten feet from me with his nose down beside his forepaws, eyes fixed on me and body coiled for the final bound ... I then let out a series of yells which spooked him off momentarily. There I stood, waiting, with my blunt belt knife in my hand not even remembering pulling it out... When he came back a series of rock showers repelled him as we left the area... I remember how this had my adrenaline flowing and how shaky I was after wards once I felt safe and my system returned to normal...

I've had some interesting bear encounters which also had my short hairs standing as well as one with a wolf that was very unusual...

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Old 03-30-2011, 04:32 PM   #986
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Hi again,i dont know if reading that was a good thing or bad but one thing i do know,my tent has to go in the middle!!
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:39 PM   #987
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Hi again,i dont know if reading that was a good thing or bad but one thing i do know,my tent has to go in the middle!![/QUOTE]



Another piece of good advice is to camp with a buddy that can't run as fast as you!...... now back to the trail breaking.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:40 PM   #988
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More than just bears and cougars, elk, big horn sheep, fishers, raccoons, skunks, deers, moose and many other forms of wildlife will more than likely be encountered.

Radium BC has more big horn sheep than people

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Old 03-30-2011, 05:51 PM   #989
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And since winter is almost offcially over for most of us I'll throw in a couple of winter pics so non Canadians can see what we get up to during the off season

My old home. Did alot of exploring in the mountains with this machine.




Snowmobiling in the Purcells, tons of winter time adventures in that area.







Heading up to my all time favourite ski run






Getting creative to avoid the hike up








If your ever in the east Kootenays and you have a day to kill and are interested in one heck of a brutal hike, the Bugaboo provincial park is about an hour off the route. The hike is a slog that raises gains a few thousand feet but gets you some of the best views in Canada. Not for the faint of heart as the hike involves climbing ladders and some pretty exposed area's, but without question it is my favourite place in Canada. That mountain in the pic is snowpatch spire and that small patch of snow is over 5 acres in size.






Well my bike is going to be back on the road this weekend, the roads are snow free and the temperature is becoming warmer. Week and a half until more progress will be made on the TCAT Thanks for hanging with the thread threw the winter. This summer promises lots of riding and reports by the various folks involved. I'm looking forward to hearing the tales from the other folks who are contributing to the route and can't wait to see what they have in store for us
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:52 PM   #990
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I had always heard that if you take a firearm into the woods to fend off bears, be sure to file the site off the end of the barrel first. That way , after he takes it away from and shoves it up your ass , it won't hurt as much.
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