The return of grizzly bears just outside Nelson is disappointing. It’s very likely this story will end on a sad note for these marvelous creatures.
Residents within the city have grown accustomed to black bears wandering the fringes and occasionally even the streets. Dozens of black bears are unfortunately destroyed each year in our region. Human-bear territorial standoffs never end well for the bruins.
Grizzly bears raise the stakes considerably. Much more shy than their bear cousins, grizzlies are rarely seen anywhere near city limits. And given their potential to cause more harm to humans, public safety must be a major factor when deciding the proper resolve to the situation.
As the bears proved this past autumn, relocation is not a guaranteed solution. These are intelligent creatures and once they find easy pickings in populated areas, why forage where food is scarce?
These bears may be destined for an unfortunate end and we only have ourselves to blame.
Despite ongoing education about eliminating bear attractants, too many people within the city and on the outskirts fail to get the message.
Shoddy fruit tree care, overflowing compost bins and improper garbage storage create a smorgasbord for wildlife and are major contributors to the demise of too many black bears on an annual basis. Now grizzly bears have entered the picture.
Local officials have been discussing ways to create stricter guidelines and harsher penalties for those who can’t seem to get the message. More drastic measures need to be put in place now. If people can’t exercise common sense, it’s up to government to get involved.
Bears don’t deserve to die because we can’t get our act together.