There was an article about bears in the paper today. Fish and Game employees “had to” kill the third cub in a litter of three because the mother had taught it to break into houses and steal food. There was a discussion on the cause–nurture or nature. But the bears were annoying, so it had to be killed.
- The bears had the land first. People cleared their land, built houses on bear property. Now there is a boundary skirmish. No big surprise.
- If the mother trained her cubs to invade houses, it’s because she is smart. We call that “survival of the fittest.” Mom bear knows where the food is. She is showing her cubs. Why is this surprising? It’s evolution.
- People’s houses are built on land that reduces the places bears can find food. Then people put food in garbage cans outside the house, and leave food on kitchen tables. Bears really don’t understand property rights. They are hungry and are looking for food.
Sure, if a bear came up my walk and tried to get in my house, I’d be scared. But blaming bears for being bears shows a remarkable ignorance of the natural world. We aren’t “better” and bears aren’t “dumb animals.” It would be great to take a step back and think about better ways to handle this than kill an animal who is looking for food.
–Quinn McDonald is a naturalist. Animals have areas in which they hunt and live. They were there first.