I was disappointed to read the solutions posed in the article on bear encounters in the June 7 paper [“Close Encounters of the Ursine Kind: Bear-human Conflicts Are Getting More Intense,” Xpress]. It seemed to dwindle down to: “Well, the bear population and thus encounters have grown over the last decade. The tried-and-true way to deal with it is to hunt them down.” The article brushed over other solutions, such as education and city ordinances.
In my opinion, there are also more harmless and logical solutions not mentioned. Instead of decreasing the population of bears by killing them, why don’t we try limiting our production of food waste? The city could also allocate funds to distribute large bearproof canisters for food waste for each neighborhood. We could have more bear crossing signs in areas where they are frequent.
Another addition would be to plant more native fruit-bearing trees and plants so the bears are less reliant on food scraps. Also, there should be more public discussion on what to do when you encounter a bear, how to safely act and how to not provoke them.
The rise of bear encounters is the direct result of urbanization and development. The least we can do is approach the problem proactively to enhance the quality of life for both us and our furry neighbors. We do live in the mountains, after all.
— Kelly Bartoldus