Imagine wandering around a gorgeous neighbourhood with access to fresh water, shade, and all the fresh fruit you could imagine. With no one dictating where you could go or what you could do, with ripe fruit ready for your consumption. Now imagine you’re a 250-pound mature black bear and that gorgeous neighbourhood is now inhabited by humans who deem you a problem for being attracted to such a wonderful area.
On Thursday, September 7th, conservation service along with local RCMP, and bylaw tracked a ‘problem’ healthy mature female brown phase black bear and destroyed her for her actions. The bear was condemned for getting into residents’ garbage, and fruit trees. She was eventually put down because she was posing a threat to society as she had a lack of fear for humans.
How I see it is that there was no threat here caused by this creature. The threat itself was fully on those who weren’t managing their fruit trees, the people who didn’t realize that garbage needs to be secured to not attract hungry wildlife to the area.
Upon this creature’s death, conversations have sprung up all over social media pointing fingers at local conservation service for destroying the animal. While we are so quick to judge, why not point the finger back at the community as a whole?
The blood spilled at the hands of a conservation officer was no more their doing than it was us as an entire community. The death of this bear was not the fault of those who shot the animal but rather all of us who have seen garbage out on the curb before garbage day and overlooked it or seen fruit trees dripping with fruit and not offered to help pick the fruit.
This is not a conservation issue within the Columbia Valley; this is a community issue of people not being bear aware. With this death, the total number of bears killed in the Columbia Valley this summer is six and, in my opinion, that is just six too many. With only 11 warnings and no tickets given out to people with bear attractants on their property, it’s a wonder how we haven’t killed more.
Here’s my proposal for our great community. Rather than pointing fingers and accusing conservation of not doing anything to mitigate the issue why don’t we all take it upon ourselves to be more conscious at our homes? Make sure your garbage is stored properly, offer to help that neighbour pickup their overripe apples and realize the only way the bear slaughters will stop is if we all do our part to improve our neighbourhoods.