I’m not much of a breakfast person, but this American Black Bear certainly was into his/her breakfast. It seemed to be having a good time foraging for food and eating large mouthfuls of Dandelions. It is always great to see a healthy and happy bear being a bear and not a nuisance. Fortunately this bear wanted to just be left alone while it ate. It wasn’t too long after my brief encounter with him/her that he/she headed back up the mountain.
Not too long after this encounter I read in a local paper outside of East Glacier that two bears had been shot and killed because they were eating out of a small dump next to a restaurant. They were charging employees as they approached to throw more garbage into the dump. The owner eventually went outside and shot the bears dead.
After reading the article I was disgusted. You watch a majestic animal like this long enough and you realize that they’re just doing what they’re programmed to do… feed, fatten up and prepare for a harsh Montana winter. With civilization constantly encroaching on their territory they don’t have much of a chance. Personally I’d like to see creative approaches putting the onus on people to be wildlife conscious. It’s far too easy to kill a bear or any wild animal for that matter and discount it. The only way someone who maintains a private dump next to their restaurant will change how they manage their waste is to give them a financial incentive to do so. I see no reason why a $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 fine per animal killed should not be imposed in such cases. People will certainly go out of their way to make sure their waste is bear proofed and eat the cost of doing so if they know they’ll incur greater cost by not doing so and having to kill wildlife. The same type of incentive should also be put in place for animals hit by speeding motorists. I’m aware of fines being given out to campers who don’t store food properly. Is it enough? I’m not sure. Is it overkill? I’m sure some will think so. I guess it comes down to how much you value wildlife. It’d be nice if wildlife were valued more by society before animals become endangered.
[tags]wildlife, photography, stock photo, Ursus americanus, black bear, Glacier National park, national park[/tags]