A repeatedly aggressive grizzly bear has garnered thousands of petition signatures to prevent it from being euthanized, despite its threat to humans.
An aggressive grizzly bear in the area of Banff, Alberta, Canada, has been the cause of some significant concern with the Alberta Environment and Parks department. So much so, in fact, that they are considering euthanizing the animal.
The bruin has repeatedly posed a threat to humans, including charging a man pushing a baby stroller, going after hikers, and wandering through a high school rugby practice where 80 children were present.
Yet, there are some folks who want the animal to be given consideration equal to human beings in the area.
"She is just as much of a local as I am, or Stacey is, or anybody else in this town. And she deserves the same respect as everybody else," said Bree Todd who, along with Stacey Sartoretto, started a petition drive to prevent the bear from being put down.
Yes, you read that correctly. The bear deserves to be treated just as you would treat any other human being. At least that's the Disneyland assessment of Todd, an 11-year resident of the area.
The bear, tagged number 148, began its history of threatening humans this spring by chasing after a woman who was kicksledding with her dogs in Banff National Park. After a tense face off with the bear the woman made it back to the parking lot and safety, all while being trailed by bear 148.
In May the bear chased three female hikers and two weeks later it wandered onto a high school rugby field where 80 children were practicing. The kids were quickly moved off the field. Last week bear 148 charged a man walking with a baby stroller before breaking off its attack.
Park officials trapped the bear following the last incident, and released her deeper in the national forest. The bear is collared and its whereabouts are being tracked. Officials say that if she exhibits more aggressive behavior towards humans she may have to be euthanized.
"Our intent isn't to euthanize her," said Brett Boukall, a senior wildlife biologist with the province. "We share the public's concern for maintaining bears on the landscape. At the end of the day, our number one priority is public safety."
"If she wanted to kill people and dogs, she could have killed people and dogs already," said Todd, seemingly knowing the bear's intent. "We want this bear alive, we want this bear protected."
Being good stewards of wildlife and specific animals is part of our job as human beings. No one would argue with the idea that we should protect and conserve wildlife. But when we lose the distinction between wildlife and humans, and equate the two as wholly equal in consideration, as Todd's comment suggests, then we're venturing into a disconnect with nature that is troubling and dangerous.
Is it worth risking a person's life to save this bear? No, of course not. No bear is worth a human life.
While it is good to remove the bear and relocate it it deeper into the wilderness, if it does return and exhibits its aggressive behavior again, park officials would be wholly justified in putting it down, and no one should complain about the decision to do so.
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