Last Friday Stephanie Rivkin went hiking in the Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Connecticut, and had an encounter with two black bear cubs. She videoed the event and posted it to YouTube.
Now at least one of the bear cubs will be put to death by the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental. Well, what do you expect of a state that lumps wildlife with energy? (This is the part where you imagine me rolling my eyes.)
Anyway, back to our story. It’s not like this was the little guy’s first encounter with humans. Note the ear tags? Seems Mr. Bear broke into a home last summer and also tried to follow a woman into a building. Wildlife officials say the bear was actually sizing up Ms. Rivkin as prey, which means he’s acting boldly toward humans. For that reason, he must die to protect others.
Next let’s move south to Florida, where today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will open meetings to discuss the future of bears in the state. Earlier this year, despite three-quarters of persons writing to the agency stating they were against the measure, the commission voted to allow bear hunting in the state starting this year. Florida Fish and Wildlife is recommending the bear “harvesting” to “stabilize bear populations” while providing, “safe, responsible, sustainable hunting opportunities.”
Why do bear populations need to be “managed?” Because the bears are encroaching on the land that we took from the bears. They raid garbage cans, enter homes, attack people and their pets.
The commission has yet to decide how many bears can be killed by hunters, but is proposing allowing up to 320 bears be killed, with each licensed hunter allowed to kill one bear without the use of dogs or bait. Despite these recommendations, the state has thus far issued almost 2000 hunting licenses. Biologists estimate there are only 1500 bears in the state. (Here are the proposed “harvest” recommendations for bears in Florida. By harvest they mean kill).
Even though the stories greatly differ, the underlying common denominator is that bears must die because they are too aggressive. We must kill them for the sake of humanity.
And why do bears become aggressive with humans?
We lure them to us.
We take over their lands, then build homes, businesses, farms and ranches. We put out garbage filled with discarded food. Some people actually feed bears. And then there are people like Stephanie who was thinking of showing off to her friends by videotaping the bear interaction instead of getting the hell out of there as soon as she noticed bears in the area.
To be sure, animal welfare and animal rights advocates are fighting both the bear hunt in Florida and the killing of the cubs in Connecticut. Speak up Wekiva is suing the state to stop the proposed bear hunt in Florida. Katherine Campoli started a Twitter campaign #SparetheBear in an attempt to force the Connecticut agency to change its mind.
What can YOU do to help bears?
Don’t feed wild animals! It’s a death sentence for many of them. I know you think you’re doing a good deed, but what makes you feel good may mean death for the animals you think you’re helping.
Fight for animals to enjoy a habitat free from human interaction.
Educate others on the appropriate ways to interact with wildlife.
Don’t engage in hunting of animals except for those to be used for food.
Oh, and don’t EVER pay to pet bear cubs or other wild animals!
Animals are not here for our entertainment. Hunting, petting, feeding animals make you feel good, but for animals it leads to abuse, neglect, and death- all for our amusement.
Leave the bears (and other wild creatures) alone.