Bears need preservation

Letters

Editor:

Re: “22 bears destroyed since April,” Jan. 10.

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The destruction of 22 bears on the Coast in 2019 is heartbreaking, and 22 is an inaccurate number of local losses. How many bears were killed by accident this year, on the Coast? (Sadly, I know my own car raises the local death toll to 23.)

And how many injuries to a human were caused by a bear this year on the Coast? Last year? Any year? I’ve lived in Gibsons since 1980 and I believe the number of local bear attacks against a human is ZERO. Some dogs have been injured over the decades, but even then, the bears were defending themselves – they certainly weren’t “going after” anyone.

The Omnimax theatre in Vancouver is currently playing an amazing film called Great Bear Rainforest. It is a beautiful visual love-letter to B.C. wildlife. At one point, a calm man and his young son sit within arm’s length of a grazing wild bear. They are respectful, calm, and perceptive. No one is startled. The father explains how they wear bright colours to signal to the bear that they are not a threat ... and it works. Everything is peaceful.

Yes, “urban” bears get into garbage and garages sometimes. Heck, we once had one open our truck door and climb through the cab! Bears walk around school playing fields at times. But they also run away with amazing speed when they hear the sounds of the true threat – us humans!

Body cameras on conservation officers are a good idea. Let’s change it to “preservation officers” and only shoot wildlife when they act like they want to attack us, OK? Guns kill pretty quickly. Humans have time to wait for acts of aggression before the trigger gets pulled.

We might be surprised by how rarely our conservation officers’ so-called “preventative measures” are actually required.

Sarah Roberts, Gibsons

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