Letter: Simply pulling the trigger isn’t the solution to our bear problem

The Editor,

Re. “Bear killed after smashing through door, rattling Port Coquitlam residents” (The Tri-City News, June 7), “Lock up or get fined as Port Coquitlam ramps up enforcement to prevent bear conflict” (The Tri-City News, June 8)

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Well, it's hunting season again! The BC Conservation Officer Service is at it again. 

Sadly, there are very, very rare times when an animal must be put down. Very rarely that is for sure. 

I'm writing because of this: Part of this above article says "After checking with his officers, Insp. Smith said there may have been some miscommunication, but that BCCOS officers strive for transparency and don’t lie to residents about operations." 

They may not 'lie' but they tend to express only their truths, and I suspect these truths are most often words straight out of their internal playbooks.

I continue to believe that until the BCCOS is subject to direct third party accountability, their credibility in their actions will remain subject to challenges that they cannot defend.

There is some good news, however. Port Coquitlam city officials have recently announced their intention to enforce their bear aware enforcements. I sincerely hope they are serious in their promise to enforce. I'm so tired — as I'm sure so many others are as well — of reading about our bears being shot or otherwise put down, particularly due to ignorant, selfish people who forget they have a direct responsibility to be bear smart and responsible for their actions.

I would like to see the BCCOS, Port Coquitlam and the Tri-Cities, overall, coordinate and cooperate as one to move forward with a meaningful and effective program to save our bruins.

And as I have advocated in the past, the fines remain too low and need raising. Further, warnings need to be eliminated. People know the rules; warnings are meaningless and generally gain nothing.

I look forward to reading more about the progress and effects of Port Coquitlam’s enforcement program and I sincerely hope that our co-habitation with our bears becomes bear friendly and supporting.

Simply pulling the trigger isn’t the solution.

Michael Sonntag, Port Coquitlam

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