Don’t believe bear hype | AspenTimes.com

Don’t believe bear hype

Dear Editor:

The DOW no doubt is feeling the heat from citizens about bears. This is a manufactured fear which has people on edge and hysterical, thinking they are going to be killed by a bear. Look at the signs about the dangers of bears all over the malls in Aspen – pretty scary and in your face. Layer on some more scary bear headlines in the newspapers and bravo, what do you have? A new super killer – the black bear!

Fear breeds more fear, and it results in more calls to wildlife officials, more criticism about them not doing enough to protect people from bears, and now to cover their ass and to protect their jobs, the solution is enlist the police to kill bears. Sure, bears can be a nuisance and they can be aggressive when pursuing food which they need to survive the long winters, but are they killers?

Here are some statistics about black bears taken from various sources on the Web: Colorado black bear populations were estimated to be 10,000 to 12,000 in 2001. Other than the bizarre death in Ouray this year of the woman who regularly fed dog food to the black bears near her house, there has been only one other confirmed death from a black bear attack in Colorado since 1900, which was in 1993. Run-ins with bears as they bulk for winter do occur, but they are focused on finding food, not harming humans.

In contrast, between 1959 and 1994 lightning killed 394 people in Colorado. There were 159 murders and 1,998 cases of rape in Colorado in 2007. Traffic deaths on Colorado highways number more than 500 per year.

So, neighbors, let’s keep our trash put away and spread the word about the truth about black bears before blood runs needlessly in more demonstrations of human paranoia and dominance.

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Mark Kwiecienski

Basalt