On Tuesday evening in Fairview, a young black bear was shot in my neighbour’s tree. I witnessed it because I couldn’t get away from it and the whole thing has left a sour taste in my mouth.
I understand that Nelson police have made large improvements in dealing with so-called problem bears. The number of bears that enter city limits and are killed each year has been significantly reduced. That I applaud.
However, here are the things that I found particularly disturbing about the event:
1. A problem bear, such as the one who was destroyed, does not become one overnight. The bear that died had likely become habituated to garbage or some other easy food source. Many towns in BC co-exist with bears. We lived in such a community where bears were a common sight, and in eight years we never had any trouble. We were bear aware. We were smart with our compost and our garbage. We never had a problem bear in our neighbourhood, and we never once experienced the scene that unfolded in Nelson earlier this week. Clearly, we have a lot to learn here.
2. Never before have I witnessed such a large crowd of onlookers lacking all compassion. Sadly, everyone was there to witness the death of the bear. There was a particularly large gathering of youth, all of whom lacked any ounce of sympathy for the bear that was about to die. There were many adults there, as well, who also lacked any feeling. There are many caring, compassionate people in Nelson, however, I didn’t see any on the night.
To those who were there and didn’t feel anything for that young bear, shame on you. It’s time for you to re-evaluate yourself.