Though sad, the shooting of a black bear within the city limits earlier this week certainly doesn’t come as a surprise. Terrible outcomes for these majestic animals is part of mountain life.
When it happens the blame-game inevitably begins. When the scene that leads to the bear’s untimely death is done in the middle of a busy neighbourhood in broad daylight, the chatter amongst residents is that much more.
Since the Tuesday incident, we have received several phone calls and emails about the way the situation was handled. On today’s letters page you will see one of them. In our Hugs and Slugs feature, you will find more.
Though the debate over exactly how to handle bear problems within city limits is a good one to have, the blame for deaths of this kind is easy to find. The answer is people.
Bears are motivated by food and sources are sometimes scarce in the wild. When a wild animal sniffs its way into the potpourri of smells that fill areas inhabited by humans, it’s hard to resist. Rarely are they interested in people, their natural fear instinct most times keeps them out of sight. What they want is easy pickings.
Despite years of awareness programs, a new city bylaw and public pressure, too many residents of this area still make it far too easy for hungry bears. Improper garbage storage, poor fruit tree maintenance and lousy composting habits are the main culprits that lead the bruins down a path of ultimate death.
When a bear gets shot, sadness is the natural emotion. But the next feeling that arises should be disappointment. We should be disappointed in ourselves and our neighbours who are not doing enough to take away the temptation.
Will this be the last bear shot within the city limits of Nelson? Absolutely not. These sad endings will continue as long as humans and bears live in the mountains. But if we start to pay closer attention to reducing attractants, then front page stories like today’s will be a less common sight.