(Editor’s note: With the recent killing of a bear on Burnaby Mountain and a bear that wandered through Edmonds on Friday, we’re posting a letter from our sister paper, the Tri-City News on this subject.)
Today, when I parked in my usual place by Spani Pool in Mundy Park to walk my dog, I was elated to see a bear trap had been set. Like the vast majority of citizens in Metro Vancouver, I think wildlife has no right to live in our urban areas, especially these 600-pound indiscriminate killing machines.
But let's be realistic. Bear traps are just a short-term and stopgap measure. I think all levels of government, along with parks boards, fish and wildlife and B.C. Conservation should get together and implement a more intense eradication program to not only get rid of bears but, also, deer, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, etc. They're nothing but a scourge on society.
To accomplish this, I have a brilliant idea that is so simple, I don't know why no one has thought of it before:
We have plenty of high school and university students who need summer jobs. We should hire these students and give them a couple of hours of basic training with high-powered rifles. Teach them how load, aim them in the right direction and pull the trigger, then set them loose in our city parks and greenbelts.
Using Mundy Park as an example, we could send a bunch of these kids into the woods and have them obliterate every living creature that moves (except humans and dogs, of course). If they don't kill all the bears, they'll have at least destroyed their food sources and the bears will either die of starvation or they will move into an area where it will be easier to blow them away. Great idea, right?!
In reality, I'm angry. This bear trapping in Mundy Park is yet again the result of the stupidity of irresponsible humans who left a picnic basket and food unattended by Spani Pool, allowing a mother bear and her cubs easy access to a food source. Consequently, they are now frequenting this area looking for more food. These unfortunate bears will suffer the consequences.
Despite what B.C. Conservation says saying about relocation, there is little or no chance of this. It's cheaper, easier and more convenient to euthanize them, which has been the case for dozens of bears in the Lower Mainland.
I have walked in Mundy Park for more than 25 years with my dogs and have had hundreds of encounters with the bears. I've come as close as 10 feet from a mother and her cubs and she didn't even give my dog and me a second glance. How many of us have the opportunity to observe bears in their natural habitat?
I'm Aboriginal/Swedish and have embraced the Buddhist philosophy. I have practised the tenets that all life is sacred and has the inalienable right to exist and coexist without having any other entity extinguishing these rights.
Without question, humans are the ugliest and most destructive creatures on Earth. We pose a far more precipitous danger to our existence, safety and longevity then the dwindling wildlife.
The term "nuisance bear" is a total misnomer. Bears don't intentionally cause any problems. The problem is "nuisance humans," who, because of carelessness and ignorant behaviour, have create an untenable situation for these creatures.
I will truly miss this peaceful microcosm of Mundy Park. Its tranquility and wildlife have been a true panacea for those of us who have walked its trails. I fear this is the beginning of the end of this rare Edenic sanctuary.
Neil Swanson, Coquitlam