Feed the bears
Mr. Hampton from DOW was quoted in a local newspaper article about a bear that was euthanized because it was hungry and caught searching for food in the Cemetery Lane neighborhood, and that he wished there were alternatives other than euthanizing the bear.
Yes, Mr. Hampton, there IS an alternative if only DOW would get over its ANCIENT mindset: “You are not supposed to feed wildlife.” (Actually, feeding wildlife is nothing new. Look around your neighborhood for bird feeders!)
This dictum might have been true in the good old days when humans were not encroaching upon bears’ habitat. Hunger is at the top of the list of imperatives for all us living beings. The bears should not be punished for trying to satisfy this God-given urge, and trying to stop that urge by locking up all the garbage cans loaded with smelly food residues is like trying to cap off the volcanoes – it is absolutely against Mother Nature. The only way to relieve this pressing urge is to satisfy their hunger by feeding them at certain designated, REMOTE areas with kitchen scraps from all the restaurants or other sources of acceptable and safe fare in town.
The answer to another of DOW’s ANCIENT misconceptions is that they’ll become dependent on us. So what? It is about time that humans compensate bears for taking over their habitat. We have virtually unlimited “waste foods” the bears can use in “bad berry” times. Probably, bears prefer their natural food supply when it is available, anyway. They definitely do NOT want to come in contact with ugly humans. They appear and become problems when desperation and hunger drive them out of their lairs. DOW officers can deliver safe kitchen wastes to the remote designated areas instead of being summoned to “human habitats” to tranquilize or euthanize bears.
This solution is a win-win situation because:
1. It will reduce or eliminate the potential of life-threatening situations and property damage (our house was damaged by a bear once, and we wrote it off as our encroachment onto their territory).
2. It will put all restaurant scraps and even kitchen grease to good use instead of filling up landfills.
3. Wildlife officers will spend time delivering food, maintaining the remote designated feeding stations and feeling good about doing their jobs instead of feeling terrible about euthanizing bears because they are guilty for being hungry.
Aspen is usually in the forefront of leading the trend and doing the right things. Let us be the leader in co-existing with other living beings peacefully and stop this bear euthanization.
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