Bears were here first
I grew up in Europe, so I have to admit to a larger than usual fascination with the wildlife in the Roaring Fork Valley, where I have now lived for almost 20 years. In times gone by, Europe, too, was home to bears, wolves and other large animals, but man and his activities secured their extinction.
Every summer in the Roaring Fork Valley, newspaper headlines bring us news of another “nuisance” bear that has been “euthanized” for the good of the human population. But euthanasia is only killing dressed up. Let’s see it for what it is. The numbers for last year state that 1,034 bears, out of the state’s population of 8,000 bears to 10,000 bears, were killed by hunters, landowners and the Division of Wildlife. Let us not forget that until recent history, the human being was not to be found year-round in the Roaring Fork Valley, Bears and other wildlife have over eons learned to adapt to life in this area, There is no easy answer to this bear “problem,” but compassion and understanding would be a good first step. We have no right to the kind of arrogance that says “Two strikes, and you’re out,” as though this bear killing were some kind of mildly amusing game.
And if we go on with this cavalier attitude toward our wildlife, it will not just be the descendants of Europe that look back with dismay along our destructive path.