James Wiltshire, Writer
June 7, 2012
Filed under Opinions
As the snow melts and the summer months come creeping up on us like a spider on the wall, we as West Coast Canadians are faced with the re-emergence of those cuddly little creatures we love to recreate in plush form. Bears. And while their stuffed-toy counterparts may be cute and soft and great things to hug, actual bears are anything but.
Over the years, bears have been slowly invading our territory, eating our food, breaking into our cars, our homes, and generally making those who live by forested areas live in a state of unease. But there lies the irony; they are not invading our territory. We are invading theirs. To meet our growing demand for land and homes, we as humans are expanding further and further into bear country (AKA their natural habitat).
Well that’s simple. They’ll just move locales or die out, right?
Maybe. Bears don’t typically like areas densely populated by humans and typically stay in their forests. But what we fail to realize is that our garbage attracts bears, luring them out of their forests and into ‘our’ domain (If you had the chance to get a free meal, you’d take it too). And then we get angry at them for walking around the streets in search of someone’s leftover barbeque scraps, angry to the point of shooting them with tranquilizer darts or high-caliber ammunition. But hey, it’s their fault, remember?
According to experts, bear attacks are rare. Just last year in 2011, a bear broke in to a pizzeria in Whistler, British Columbia. There was some property damage sustained, but no casualties or injuries were reported. But that does not mean bear attacks on humans don’t happen.
This article was not designed to enlighten you about the dangers of bear attacks, nor was it created for the sake of giving you a detailed ‘how-to’ guide on dealing with an encounter with a bear. This article was designed to tell you, the reader, that the majority of bear related incidents are the result of human negligence and invasiveness. And with bears now coming out of hibernation, headlines portraying bears as the bad guys will no doubt become prevalent. We are just as much responsible for bear hostility as they are, because we destroy their homes, tempt them with leftovers, and punish harshly the stragglers that are not satisfied with what little we’ve left them. It would be like the government coming into your home, taking all of your possessions, leasing you a room in your house and shooting you if you leave.
But oh well, they’re just stupid, cuddly teddy bears. No harm, no foul.