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Monday, July 20, 2015
What bear goes there?
Photo credit: High Mountain Adventures/Facebook Page
I’ve been silent for almost 5 months, and for that I apologize. Writing about wildlife and what I’ve learned in college and life has been a constant source of joy for me, and I’ve met some really cool people through my blog. I have a lot to share about what has been going on in my life. For now, please read this article concerning bears and wildlife rehabilitation and the handling of wild animals by the “lay-person”. If you have read any of my previous entries, you’ll know that I love the American black bear above all other wild animal species.
Here are the comments that have transpired, and my thoughts:
Alyssa: I actually dont like this article or story now that I’ve read it. People should NOT approach wildlife, should NOT pic up young (or otherwise) animals esp bears, should NOT put them on a leash. Let nature take it’s course. The SE is saturated with bears. The loss of one will not affect the population, however callous that sounds. That’s the biologist in me!
Friend Who Posted The Article Link: Ouch alyssa lol I get where you’re coming from but they’re just trying to do the right thing and save a life.
Myself and a set of black bear triplets at a den visit this past winter in the Finger Lakes. I accompanied the NYSDEC biologists and researchers to this den to collect various pieces of information. This information is used to manage the State’s black bear population. I am conflicted for sharing these types of pictures, as they give the wrong idea sometimes. This was a legitimate research day, and I was lucky to participate as a volunteer.
Alyssa: See “doing the right thing” in this case is anthropomorphizing a wild animal. A pet dog? Yes pick it up. A child human? Yes of course pick him or her up. But doing the right thing for wild animals and people/domestic pets is different. A wild animal should be left. The only situations that I agree with wildlife rehabilitation is the orphaning of young at a VERY young age…. IE: Mom hit by a car, and fawn is left standing there. A 5 month old bear CAN survive on it’s own. It’s no longer nursing and is very mobile. The other situation I agree with wildlife rehab is of an endangered or iconic species, such as the Bald Eagle. What this guy did, and what this article is doing, is not any favors for bears. People see this cute creature being held like a baby. I struggle with this myself, as someone who’s assisted with the handling of research bears, and I share pics of myself holding a 5 lb bear cub. Cute, amazing, wonderful… but we’re telling people its ok to handle wildlife. I’m sorry if this is coming off as crass, but it’s a reality that wildlife biologists and researchers deal with. That bear will be imprinted on humans, will seek out humans for food in the future, AND will likely need to be “removed” in the future for breaking into a car or camp. It’s only been told that people = food. A fed bear is a dead bear. It seems mean, but we’re talking about a wild animal whose species has evolved for 1000s of years, living off the land. People (usually) have the best intentions in the world for helping, but they are not doing the wild animal any favors.
Alyssa: Not to mention, that man handling that strong, young, scared animal without gloves or other protective clothing, and the bear isn’t restrained or otherwise. What if the reason she was so bold was because she had a communicable disease? Distemper, rabies, etc etc etc… I speak for the bears, not to get “Loraxy” on you, haha! But I care 1st for bears. If that means they’re left alone and a young one dies, it’s for the better of their species.
I encourage you to read the article and come to your own conclusions. Please share your thoughts below!