Readers Debate Who's to Blame for Urban Bear Incident

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / July 2, 2004


Bear should have been darted and relocated, not shot and killed

I think killing the bear in Eagle River was the cheap and easy way out for Fish and Game. They say it was a garbage bear, but it was obviously able to hunt like any bear. Why couldn't they dart it, relocate it and give it a chance to survive in the wild? I live in the neighborhood the bear was in, and I am very disappointed with Fish and Game. I think their choice to shoot and injure the bear put more people at risk than darting it and relocating it would have.

I'm sure it was much more cost-effective with less paperwork involved for them to kill the bear versus allowing it to live out its life in another location. It also makes their job easier to put the blame on the residents. Makes me wonder what the true purpose of Fish and Game is. I thought they were there to protect the animals, not hired hunters.

---- Sara Coats

Eagle River

Neighborhood didn't bait bear; it should have been put down last fall

As a resident of the Eaglewood subdivision since 1987, I am very upset about the way Rick Sinnott and the Daily News portray our subdivision. This area houses over 900 homes, and we have very strict covenants and restrictions. We are not "baiting the bear," as Mr. Sinnott has said. We would not have had a problem with this bear last week if the state had removed the bear last fall when it was wandering between our subdivision and the other areas by the river, which is also home to two elementary schools.

Yes, this area used to be bear habitat, but now there are homes with families, and we cannot co-exist with bears. For all of us who heard or witnessed the killing of a moose calf the morning of June 23, we are glad that the bear has finally been put down.

We need to remember that bears are not on the endangered species list here. People do actually go hunting bears, so why should we, as residents of Eaglewood, be made to feel guilty that a grizzly had to be killed? Remember, he wasn't just eating garbage, he took out a moose calf right in the driveway of my neighbor. This was not Yogi!

-- Kay Pederson

Eagle River

People need to take responsibility to avoid bear incidents, shootings

This bear story is absolutely outrageous. There is a new one every week because people continue to act irresponsibly. Leaving out bird feeders, dirty barbecues, dog food and trash attracts bears. Bears are wild. We must act accordingly.

These incidents and shootings must stop from Eagle River to Kenai. They can be prevented easily. Do not have a bird feeder. They are not good for birds anyway. Clean your barbecue. Do not feed your dog or leave dog food outside. Handle your garbage responsibly. Put it out the morning it gets picked up -- not the night before. Store your garbage in bear-proof containers. Do not put meat or fish in your compost.

People need to start taking responsibility for themselves. If you don't want wilderness and wild animals, move to Los Angeles.

-- Mara Burstein


Story about bear killing moose calf was too graphic and unnecessary

I was revolted and appalled with your front-page story of June 24, "Neighborhood awakes to sounds of moose calf killing." The article was egregiously graphic. Was it really necessary to say the bear was holding the calf and "using its hands to kill the moose" and "For about half an hour that little baby just whimpered and cried"?

Yes, we live in Alaska; yes, bears kill moose calves. Do I need to see this on the front page the first thing in the morning? No.

This article was not national news, nor was it news at all. It belonged buried in the B section. Better yet, bury it in the garbage, where it belongs.

This is not a Hearst yellow-journalism newspaper, but it sure sounded like it that day.

-- Erin Hall Meade


Let's respect bears in the wild but not allow them in our yards

I am constantly amazed at our ability to subvert good sense and attach human attributes to wild predators. Perhaps it's because we form our attitudes from stuffed animals, warm fuzzy children's books and Disney films. Perhaps it's because we feel guilty for usurping animals' territory. Perhaps it's because we seldom observe wild animals "doing their thing" in the wild.

Whatever our reasons, at least our state Fish and Game people should have more sense and should not allow problem bears to remain alive in peopled areas. Bears that fear humans tend to avoid human contact. Let's respect bears in wild areas, but let's not tolerate them in our back yards.

---- John Whiting

Eagle River

Neighborhood where bear was killed had been responsible about trash

I do eat meat, and I do not hug trees. I also need to apologize to Rick Sinnott. I called him on June 24, infuriated by his comments in the Daily News stating that residents of Eagle River neighborhoods were "baiting" the brown bear with trash and birdseed ("Neighborhood awakes to sounds of moose calf killing").

The first moose calf was killed 50 yards from my home. Most of us wanted this bear disposed of due to the danger we felt because so many young children live in our neighborhood. Last fall our neighborhood along Mitkof Loop rigorously and successfully ensured that any food a bear would prey upon was put away. We saw the bear frequently, yet there were no episodes of the bear rooting through anyone's trash.

It seems, however, that other neighborhoods are not quite as responsible. The fact that people would still leave trash and birdseed in their yards is amazingly foolish, ignorant and arrogant. The bear naturally followed an easy food supply.

Mr. Sinnott is correct; he did not kill this bear. The stupidity of residents, some of them here a long time, is the reason for this situation. We live in bear country. Regardless of how long we have been interloping here, it is distressing that some people don't respect bears and will allow this kind of situation to develop.

-- Erica Wight

Eagle River

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