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Posted: Apr 5 2012, 08:05 AM
Member No.: 119
Joined: 5-January 06
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
This Pooh story should never have happened
By: Bartley Kives
Big-hearted Rene Dubois of St. Malo should never have adopted this bear cub.
With the vast majority of humans living in cities and towns, it's hard to maintain a close connection with nature.
Only a century ago, when Manitoba was a primarily rural place, the average person would have some experience with wild animals. We used to shoo them off our farms, hunt and trap them and sometimes just kill them for the sake of it. Occasionally, we would even admire them for their beauty.
Today, however, the closest many Manitobans get to a wild animal is from the edge of an enclosure at Assiniboine Park Zoo. Most of what we know of animals comes from the Discovery channel, Disney cartoons and TV commercials.
Given this absence of experience, we tend to anthropomorphize wild animals on the rare occasions we cross paths.
We talk to them in hushed tones, as if they are small children, when we see them at the sides of roads. We joke to each other about capturing them and taking them home. But few of us would ever dare to go through with such a foolish plan.
St. Malo's Rene Dubois, however, is no ordinary Manitoban. As much of Canada learned this week, the retired construction worker was driving to see a relative when he spotted a tiny black bear cub in a ditch.
Seeing no mother bear was around and the cub appeared to be starving, he picked up the little critter and took it home.
This well-intentioned act occurred on March 25. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship officers seized the bear on Tuesday after Dubois fed the creature for nine days, showed it off to hundreds of visitors and even took it to a daycare centre, nursing home and radio station -- unwittingly preventing the animal from ever having a chance of getting reintroduced to the wild.
In this province, it's illegal to keep a black bear without a permit. If you keep a bear at home, you face a fine and the prospect of a visit from a gun-toting Conservation officer.
You would also be breaking the first rule of human-wildlife interaction: Never approach a wild animal, let alone attempt to capture it, even if it appears injured or orphaned.
Baby black bears may be cute, but the species is not endangered. There may be more black bears in Manitoba now than in the days before European colonization, when the species faced competition from the plains grizzly.
In other words, there is no environmental need to conduct an emergency abduction of a black bear cub. The officially advised course of action for dealing with a cub is to call Manitoba Conservation as soon as possible with the location.
If you handle the cub, it may have to be euthanized, which means its fate will be no better than if you left the cute little critter to die in a ditch.
Thirteen years ago, the euthanization of a black bear cub found living in a Chilliwack-area Dumpster led to such a public outcry. British Columbia had to come up with a set of rules governing what to do with so-called rescues of bears. B.C.'s conclusion: Rehabilitation is only possible for black bears when people do not handle them.
It's possible the cub Dubois captured could find a home in a zoo or wildlife centre. If not, it can and should be destroyed.
The big-hearted Dubois should not be vilified. He believed he was saving the animal's life, not signing its death warrant.
But just to make things clear to any other would-be wildlife rescuers: You do not live in a Disney movie. Treating a black bear like a human child -- feeding it milk, giving it nap time and offering it up for display -- is not much different than shooting it in the head.
“One way to distinguish Conservatives from Liberals is that the former excuse the unethical inclinations of the wealthy whereas the latter excuse the unethical inclinations of the poor.”
Posted: Apr 5 2012, 09:59 PM
Member No.: 81
Joined: 27-October 05
No, what the man did was to rescue a tiny bear cub from either certain and soon starvation or death from a predator. instead of forgetting about it, or calling local animal conservation who might eventually show up days too late. Instead the cub is alive and it's chances of being adopted by either a wildlife reserve or zoo are pretty good, look it up.
All the rest? Just that same old tired rant by a Winnepeg columnist who obviously knows his readership who he knows never tire of hearing more about those tree-huggin', Bambi-lovin' sonsofbitches.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst
Posted: Apr 6 2012, 03:28 PM
Member No.: 60
Joined: 14-October 05
"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger"