Roar! Stop killing bears, you bandits!

The government needs to do more to teach people that bears are dangerous animals. That is obviously a ridiculous thing to say, but last year the official tally of bears who died due to human interference was 19, the highest death toll since grizzly bear hunting ended in 2006. This number could be as high as 30, according to an environmentalist group called Action Grizzly Bear, because deaths are sometimes unreported and relocated bears have a higher probability of dying.

Look, I love bears. Tourists love bears. Everyone loves bears. But we don’t need to stop on the highway and pull over to take pictures of bears when we see them on the side of the road, like I’ve seen many times driving on Alberta and B.C. highways. This needlessly endangers both the gawkers’ and the bear’s life.

Behaviour like this needs to be addressed by the government and stopped. To save the 500 or fewer bears estimated to be left some drastic steps will need to be taken. Perhaps it’s time re-evaluate where people are allowed to camp and where major roadways are to prevent further human-bear encounters.

The government did spend $1.7 million protecting bears last year and ran some community-based initiatives to educate people on how to interact with the large creatures. But this isn’t enough if the number of bears dead through human interaction is as high as Action Grizzly Bear estimates it is.

Humans are constantly encroaching on animal land and in order to protect us from them, often times animals need to be killed. This thinking needs to be reversed– not that we should kill humans to protect animals– we should be altering our own behaviour to help protect animals, especially when their numbers are significantly dwindling as is the case with Alberta’s grizzly bears.

Perhaps the adage of “don’t poke the bear” needs to be adjusted. We shouldn’t even be close enough to poke them.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.