Monday, July 04, 2011

[Dexter] Bear Bearings

Bear Bearings: It was first spotted at Hudson Mills Metro Park. There were two witnesses, but when the rangers searched, they saw no evidence. People I know dismissed it as probably just a big labradoodle. Then somebody got a photo. It was a young black bear; an adolescent probably just newly on his own. PSAs went out about what to do in a bear encounter. The reactions were telling.

It became a minor phenomenon. Everyone I know said it was cool. A twitter feed and facebook page popped up. T-shirts are still available.

Internet forums then began lighting up with people who tried to be even cooler by mocking the furor and claiming not to understand why everyone thinks it's a big deal. Often they peppered their comments with humble brags about how much time they spent up north where bears are more common and yet they never had any problem.

The DNR set up a trap with the intent of catching it and putting a collar on it.

What nobody did was even consider that the bear is dangerous and should be caught and removed from the area. No, we are supposed to live in harmony with it. After all, ask anyone and they will tell you it just wants to get along with us. Clearly it's an Animal Planet planet.

Here's a new flash. IT'S A BEAR, ok? A BEAR. It doesn't know it's supposed to just live and let live. It doesn't have a sense of its place in the community. It doesn't do any sort of moral reasoning at all. It is a highly intelligent predatory creature that, even as an adolescent, is higher on the food chain than anything else around here.

Sure enough, after the fun and games reality begins to set in. Less than a mile up the road from me, some poor woman had her chicken coop raided and destroyed. She now says that the Momma bear is present also, although the DNR hasn't verified that. This is how it starts. Note the quote: "They'll come right in front of my door and sit down. They'll let me get in a foot of them; they're not afraid of me at all." I cannot emphasize this enough: THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING.

Here's how this will play out. Somebody will find a half-eaten Chihuahua on their back porch. Or maybe somebody's golden retriever will barrel through their electric fence and into the woods, never to return. Then it will start to dawn on people. There might even be an outcry to remove the bear(s), but probably they'll just blame the dog owners. What the poo-poo'ers and nature ennoblers don't realize is that they are being completely cavalier about the danger to human life. What are they going to say when someone child happens to be playing in the back yard when Momma Bear comes by? Are they going to take responsibility for treating their fantasy version of nature as reality? No, of course not. They'll probably blame the parents for not watch more closely because, as we all know, all good parents should be capable of keeping a 24/7 watch on their children.

There is a reason human beings have gathered in cities and built fences and weapons. Nature is not on our side. Not when we were wandering the African veldt 25,000 years ago and not in Dexter, Michigan in 2011. Live and let live is not an option, no matter what Animal Planet tells you.

Besides, don't we have enough trouble with feral pigs?