Saturday, March 27, 2010

Save NJ bears!

This is the original of a letter to the editor of the Trenton Times that was disappointingly (and needlessly) edited before publication on March 25. The newspaper had editorialized in favor of the proposed bear hunt -- a position that seemed uninformed, at best.

To the editor:

Sure, go ahead with the black bear hunt. (“Limited Hunt Is Justified,” March 15)

Why not? There hasn’t been a hunt for a while, and the bears have come back after nearly being wiped out from over-hunting in the 70s.

After all, bears pursue the scent of garbage that people “unwittingly” – illegally, in fact -- dispose of. Then, after failing to enforce the law against feeding bears (in this case through improperly stored garbage), the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (formerly Fish and Game) argues the need to hunt and kill the bears – while also sabotaging non-lethal bear management techniques.

And too, since the salaries of Fish and Wildlife employees come from the sale of hunting licenses, they have to “call for” hunts, don’t they? Especially since they have no other plan for the bears except killing them.

They must not know, or want to know, that bears are flight, not fight, animals, and they’re among North America’s slowest reproducing land mammals. Or that it’s grizzly bears, not black bears, who defend their cubs.

Further, bears killed as nuisances have done such murderous things as knocking over trash, emptying birdfeeders and lapping up honey from beehives. When home, garage or porch entry is involved, it’s easier to blame bears than homeowners who didn’t bear-proof their property.

Did those behind the Times’ editorial look at any information beyond that from Fish and Wildlife? Did they glance at, where they could have read about Fish and Wildlife’s gratuitous kills and number-inflation?

It’s easier for these honorary Fish and Wildlife members to join the chorus for a hunt.

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