Making neighborhoods bear safe won't resolve issue

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I am writing to you on behalf of the unnerving trend I've observed regarding the sanctity of bears over human life, and I would like to offer a different point of view than the predator propaganda I continue to see in this newspaper.

The government has chosen to take $90,000 of the tax payers' money and enlighten me as to how not to be eaten by bears. Basically, this means they will tell me to bear-proof my trash, lock up my pet, and stop feeding the chickadees. Then, if we can get all the neighbors to do the same, our community will get awarded the status of "Bear Safe."

What then? The bears will feel safer about marauding around my house looking for the next item up on the food chain — me?

Let me ask, what has banning suet done for each of the maulings cited in your article? Was the runner carrying suet in his pocket? Were the hikers putting their trash bags out too early? The truth is, none of the people who were mauled this year did anything that could have been prevented except go outside.

Bears have no healthy respect for people because they have no reason to fear them; people are showing themselves to be easy meals. Aggressive bear behavior is not going to change as long as we are taking such extreme measures to protect them.

The brown bear population is healthy enough to support a small hunting season without suffering in numbers. Additionally, if bears that have shown themselves to be a public nuisance are exterminated instead of shuttled out a few miles to return in a week or so, then the issue will be resolved. Bears will have a healthy fear of humans, and humans will be safe in their own neighborhoods. It doesn't have to come down to a needless massacre on either side.

Alaska is a large state. There's plenty of room here for humans to carve a safe niche and call it home.

Emily Grossman


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