Bears died because people failed them
Outrage has been an overwhelming sentiment about the killing of three bears this week off of Emerald Bay Road. People are outraged we ran it so prominently on the front page and outraged that it had to happen.
We defend how we ran the story and how it was written. It was a news story. We must bring you the good and bad that happens here and elsewhere.
Three bears being put to death — especially a momma bear and two cubs — does not happen every day or even every year. Plain and simple, it is news. In South Lake Tahoe it is front page news.
There is good reason to be outraged that a gun was taken to these wild animals. We understand that bears breaking into cabins goes far beyond an annoyance. There is clearly the possibility that if people were inside, the bears could have harmed them.
Though it is also likely the bears would have been scared off. Banging of pots and loud noise is a proven way of getting a bear to scamper out of a campground; surely it would work indoors. Rubber bullets have proven effective as well as other aversion techniques.
What needs to be looked at is how to keep the bears from ever coming indoors. The bears that were killed were on Forest Service land in the Spring Creek tract. The Forest Service recommends food be removed from summer cabins. The owners of the cabin said they did not do this and do not believe they should have to.
The owner even said, “This is human territory.” Technically a structure is human territory. However, the structure in question was built in bear territory.
We, as humans, have an obligation to be good stewards of the land and to the critters living off of it. We cannot be feeding bears, no matter how cute and cuddly cubs look. This is so incredibly irresponsible that it should be a crime.
How many times do people have to be told these are wild animals that when given human food will continue to expect such a diet on a continual basis? Trash can bears are a problem in the Lake Tahoe Basin because of bad people.
There are things we can do. Keep food out of summer cabins as is recommended, have bear-proof garbage containers, do not feed any wild animal.
Bears were here long before we were. It is up to us to figure out a way to live with them, not the other way around. Killing bears should be a last resort. These bears were not entirely at fault and yet they paid the ultimate price.
There are no bad bears, there are only irresponsible people.
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