Wild animals are normally afraid of humans. This is a good thing for us and it is particularly good for them. However, sometimes animals get used to us and lose that fear. Then we are both in trouble.
The bears we have seen recently were here because they found food. What happens in such a case is that they become “food-conditioned”, keep coming around, and soon lose their fear of people. That’s when they become a threat. It is unfortunate that once a bear has become used to this situation there is no going back. Catching them and moving them somewhere else has been shown to not work. The only solution is to put them down. This is a very sad situation. What is particularly sad is that it could be avoided. Leaving food garbage outside where the scent can attract bears is the main cause.
The recent invasion of bears in Coalmont has made it clear that we have a problem here. A problem with people. The three bears in the picture above died as a result of people’s garbage.
To really make the situation clear, here is an e-mail which the New Coalmont Courier received on Monday. It is from a local resident who witnessed the removal of the female bear and her two cubs.
The 3 bears are dead:
You probably know by now, but in case you don’t, all three bears were shot this afternoon. The two bear cubs were caught in the trap set by conservation officers. The babies were bawling all night long and mama was sitting nearby and ripping apart Maurice’s plum tree while she waited and watched her babies in the cage. Bob (brave man that he is) went out early in the morning to confirm what was in the trap and once again phoned conservation (he had called them last night and even though they are a 24 hour service, they don’t send anyone out until the next day). We posted warning notes on the doors to the motel rooms as we had guests with pets and children and didn’t want anyone getting mama bear ticked off more than she was. Practically the entire town showed up over the morning to look at the cubs. They were so adorable and small and were crying their hearts out. It was really sad. Mama moved to the edge of town and watched from there. Conservation arrived and after no luck hunting down mama, took the cubs in the cage out to the edge of the bush where mama was. Mama came out of hiding. The conservation officer shot and killed mama and threw her in his truck to the cries of the babies who could smell her. Then he went out to check on another bear sighting at the other end of town (I don’t know what happened there). He was going to take the babies out to shoot them as well. We have another trap set up where the old one was in case any of the other three bears wander in. Ray said he was “held hostage every night from 7 pm to morning” because of the bears coming onto his porch. He said even banging pots and pans didn’t frighten them. The conservation officer said he’d dump the bears off the road somewhere. Seems kind of a waste. Since they were killed, it surprised me they didn’t use the meat or fur for something. I wonder if any locals followed him to pick up the dead bears after he left? Anyway, it was a sad day in Coalmont.
Photo of the three bears taken by Lonnie a few days earlier at Granite Creek.