They want to kill bears because they just don't understand
Just when we thought they had ended, we received yet another e-mail from a detractor critical of our failed efforts last spring to prevent an ill-conceived partial re-opening of the spring bear hunt. Attached to it was this URL, which tells of an effort to move a "nuisance" mother black bear and her two cubs in the Yukon that failed when the bears returned. The mother was killed, leaving the cubs orphaned.
But, what is so sad is that this is just one of numerous e-mails and phone calls we received in response to opposing the spring bear hunt, all with a similar theme. The criticism involves the Greater Toronto Area: Canada's most urbanized area, where many of us live, but where bears are rare or absent. The assumption is that we are all a bunch of overly-compassionate urbanites who don't experience nature in the raw, and who don't feel the need to protect ourselves, and who know nothing about animals.
It means that they're unable to comprehend what we're really saying. The irony is that the article to which this e-mailer points actually makes our point. By "our," I refer to an assortment of people with diverse addresses (including central and northern Ontario) and experiences with bears. As professional advocates on behalf of animals, we first look at what the experts say. That includes the scientists employed by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, who have long researched the "nuisance bear" issue-not by sitting in city apartments, but by employing various technologies to study bears in the field. It's not that we would uncritically agree with them; but, in the case of the then-Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, their findings-that the spring bear hunt made no measurable difference in the number of incidents involving "nuisance" bears-were not even considered. He knew that people like our critics hadn't read them either... that they simply feared bears, and could easily be duped into thinking he and his government, facing an election, had their better interest in mind by bringing back the spring bear hunt in several jurisdictions to "test" the results.