Monday, January 24, 2022

Fines justified in North Fork bear case

by By Larry Wilson
| September 8, 2021 7:25 AM

Biggest news this week on the North Fork is the grizzly Monica and her three yearling cubs. The family of bears has been seen and photographed by most local residents as they wandered through yards up and down the North Fork. 

As of the writing at least two of the cubs have been put down (killed) by Fish and Game officials and Monica and the third cub will also be killed, if they haven’t already by wildlife officials.

Why? Apparently, they went on a garbage spree getting into unsecured garbage and escalating into at least one vehicle break-in and a camper trailer where they got food. 

The story around the North Folk is that the spree started when they go into unsecured garbage at the same place three nights in a row. That must have been a lot of garbage to draw four bears three times. 

It is always a shame when human stupidity results in the death of a bear. Unfortunately, it is all too common. People find a bear, it becomes habituated to human food, breaks into human food sources and is then killed. 

Stupidity is one thing, carelessness is another. However, three times into the same garbage indicates a large amount of garbage and if it is not secured I think it is criminal. 

There is a $10,000 fine for killing a grizzly bear.

If Monica and her cubs have to be killed because of a criminal act that person should be charged and taken to court. 

Realistically, I doubt anyone would have to pay $40,000 for the death of Monica and her family, but they should be publicly identified, charged and have to pay a fine. 

Educational programs and lectures are fine but when the folks fail to follow the basic rules of living in the backcountry they should be held accountable. 

Garbage needs to be secured. This can be done with bear-proof containers, but the easiest is probably an electric fence. Bears seem to get one shock and then stay away. This is vital especially around commercial enterprises that serve food or where outdoor grills are used.

If you are going to live or recreate in bear country you have an obligation to respect the wildlife and contribute to their safety. 

What do you think? 

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