Guest Column: A fed bear is a dead bear
Special to the Sun
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; I regularly read the Sierra Sun and enjoy the juxtaposition of articles and the debate that ensues. The contrast was ever so vivid in the edition from Dec. 1. One bear is shot after repeated break-ins at a local restaurant. Another bear is saved from starvation by Ann Bryant and friends.
Having lived in Tahoe City for most of my life, I am very aware of the problem of black bears. Careless visitors and residents leave food and garbage in places where the bears can get to it. If bears are awake, they are only thinking of food. Itand#8217;s what they do.
I consider myself and#8220;bear awareand#8221; and know what to do in order to avoid unwanted bear confrontations. Much of this knowledge I have received from the BEAR League and their efforts to educate the people of this area.
From the BEAR League website:
and#8226; A fed bear is a dead bear!
and#8226; NEVER FEED BEARS.
and#8226; People who create situations where bears get food begin a cycle which usually results in the death of a bear.
and#8226; Never feed the bears! Not ever! Report any neighbors or visitors who are doing so to the BEAR League.
I have no doubt that Ann Bryant and the BEAR League truly care for the black bears of this area, but nothing smacks of hypocrisy and double standards more than this caption:
and#8220;The orphaned bear cub drinks some bear formula just days after it was rescued from the Tahoe Meadows area in proximity to the Mt. Rose Highway The bear is in the living room of Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League.and#8221;
Again from a piece written by Ann Bryant herself titled, and#8220;Living With Bearsand#8221;:
and#8220;The most important rule of all is NEVER FEED THE BEARS! They can survive much better without our handouts. Once a bear finds food on your property he will never forget and will return many times hoping for a repeat performance.and#8221;
The California black bear population has increased threefold in the last 25 years. This can be attributed to living in proximity to evermore humans and higher fat diets. Educating the residents and visitors of this area is very important to reducing the number of bears that will die needlessly.
Ann Bryant has damaged her credibility by practicing the age-old double standard of and#8220;do as I say, not as I do.and#8221; Hopefully the residents and visitors of this area will see through her hypocrisy and remember the original message: A FED BEAR IS A DEAD BEAR.
Charles Mallett is a Tahoe City resident.
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