Bears have the right to act like bears

Maybe we are too quick to shoot problem bears

The number of bears killed around Whitehorse is unsettling. 

I know bears are dangerous, difficult to predict, threatening, and scary when you meet one face to face. I’ve had four such encounters and I don’t want more.

I indeed respect all the things that humans should do to avoid bear contact and that we should deal with property and personal attractants. But recent reporting said the bear was “aggressive.” I think bears are allowed to be aggressive. They can defend their young. They can stake their territory. They can be curious and get close to things. They can even charge. Most bear awareness instructs us, among other things, to stand our ground, which is often effective, as bears are posturing to make a point. They can also break away at the last minute. That is indeed frightening, but does not make the bear a problem. Very often, they will let you back away.

I know this is not always the case and that we’ve had some tragedies. But in the recent Whistle Bend event, key information was discovered afterwards — that the sow had a cub. That is more than an adequate reason for aggressive behaviour. When coming into contact with people, a bear in a compost container, greenbelt or neighbourhood does not to my mind automatically constitute a habituated bear or a problem bear. They can be deterred. They can be passing through. They can move on or be frightened away. Even seeing the same bear more than once is not, in itself, a problem.

Of course, if a person is defending human life from imminent physical injury, by all means, use any means necessary to save that life, including a gun. But if that danger is no longer immediate then are there other actions that can result other than deciding to kill the bear in order to save it.

Attractants are a significant part of the problem, but are we too quick to use the gun as a solution?

Ross Burnet

Whitehorse

Just Posted

Yukon government won’t release municipal carbon tax rebate details until May

Details of potential rebates for municipalities to be announced in May

They’ve got a guy: Yukon government signs first pot supplier deal

A B.C.-based company will provide up to 350 kg of cannabis flower and oil

Yukon Parks tightens rules to crack down on campsite squatters

Campers were previously allowed to leave occupied campsites unattended for up to 72 hours

Simapalooza draws big crowd for sunshine and spring skiing

The two-day event wrapped up with the Slush Cup April 8

Despite sticker shock, Whitehorse council votes to proceed with lot sales

City will sell four country residential lots via lottery

Hard pass on carbon tax

I’d like to say I’m shocked at Silver’s and Trudeau’s short sightedness… Continue reading

Climb Yukon hosts annual bouldering competition in Whitehorse

‘It was nice to see all the competitors trying to give each other advice’

At B.C. jail, First Nations programming transformational for inmates, says elder

Elder, spiritual advisor Darla Pratt spoke at the Council of Yukon First Nations’ justice conference

Homes vs. real estate

When I was a teenager in the 1960s and looking forward to… Continue reading

Father Mouchet Memorial Loppet brings Old Crow community together

‘We get more and more folks coming out and the community gets a little bit more involved’

Salmon restoration project to continue despite fire, says Ta’an Kwäch’än Council

‘This is a well-established and healthy project, dear to the hearts of the Ta’an people’

Yukon Legal Aid receives additional $241k in funding

Executive director David Christie says the additional funding has been needed for years

Most Read