WE live in black bear country here on the North Shore and, as the dominant species, we have to figure out how we are going to share our territory with them.
Yet on Wednesday we caused two of them to be killed, the first hereabouts this year.
We have killed many more in years gone by, but huge strides over the last 10 years in bear awareness education has reduced the number shot. Conservation officers and police are better trained and equipped to deal with problem bears than ever before. While it might be tempting to assume that the death of Bernice Evelyn Adolph, presumed killed in a bear attack near Lillooet June 30, might make conservation officers more likely to shoot first than try hazing or relocation, we doubt that is the case.
The fact is, we need to claim what we consider "ours" when faced with visits from black bears. If we do not, we confirm to the bears that it is "theirs" to claim whenever they wish to return. Since they have no natural predators, they can be dangerous once habituated to that behaviour and, in turn, put themselves at risk.
It is unrealistic to expect that we will ever live in complete harmony with the bears, but we should all be committed to knowing what to do when we meet them and, most of all, in not attracting them. But once they are there, never be afraid to let the Conservation Officer Service (1-877-952-7277) know about them. A bear taking peanut butter from a kitchen may be a cute story, but it is one with clear danger to young children in the home.