Officials' 'Bear First, People Second' Policy Needs to Change Pronto

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / July 25, 2003


In discussing the horrible grizzly bear mauling suffered by Daniel Bigley on the Russian River, Jeff Hughes of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was quoted by the Daily News as saying, "We do not want any more (bears killed) in there, and we want to reduce bear-human conflicts. The individual was gravely injured, and that's a great concern to us."

Notice the priorities revealed in this statement. His first stated concern is for the bears. Then, almost as a parenthetical, he mentions concern for Daniel Bigley. In other words, it appears that the policy of Fish and Game is, "bears first, people second." Perhaps Daniel Bigley, who at last report was still in critical condition, would prefer a policy of "people first, bears second." I know that I would.

Since the bears refuse to pay any of the taxes it takes to keep people like Jeff Hughes working for us, maybe we should ask Mr. Hughes and the other state employees who think like he does to make concern for the health and safety of people their first concern.

-- Bill McKeever / Anchorage

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