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Monday, June 29, 2009

Bear in the City

Looking back on the last post, I'm struck by the irony of the timing. This weekend, a black bear that has been living in the woods on the edge of town for several years without incident decided to take a walk down the bluff, across the highway, and into the city limits. He climbed a tree in a local park and was promptly shot dead by DNR officials who stated they had no choice. They say the nearest agency with a tranquilizer gun is ninety miles away, and they couldn't take the risk that the bear, who was drawing a crowd, would stay in the tree. If he tried to get out of the tree, they reasoned, he would be loose in a residential neighborhood.
Well, I'm not a bear expert but I do believe I'd have called for the tranquilizer, ordered the area cleared of onlookers, and waited it out. IF the bear came down, well, then you do what you need to do. But to senselessly kill him on the chance that he "might" become a threat.....well, those people are right up there with the folks at Anthem who thought a hysterectomy was the best course of treatment for a benign fibroid.
I was disappointed and upset to see the footage of this story on the local news, complete with video of the bear getting shot and falling from the tree. Was it necessary to show that? It must be ratings time.
I have to wonder, too, why the DNR didn't have a dart gun when they knew this bear was living so close to the city. I mean, his woods borders a golf course. Golfers were warned to watch for him, and hikers were taught to be aware of his presence. It would seem logical that someday there would be a need to relocate him. It's been dry here this year. I think it's possible that the bear came down in search of food. It seems irresponsible to say there was no choice but to shoot him. I think it was more a matter of poor management. I just hope we learn from it.

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