Letter to the Editor

I wonder where Mr. Mark Booden hails from, a big city where wildlife is behind fences? For over 20 years Tumbler Ridge and the bears did just fine, nobody ever got hurt in town, but since Mr. Booden came to town ? to save us all? six bears have been shot and many citizen?s that came here from Calgary, Edmonton and other cities to retire are scared to death. You mean you had 81 phone calls of bear sightings, not complaints. It was you Mr. Booden and the new bear aware people that chased the bears around town and got them so irritated that finally they had to be shot. I sure hope that our new council will not take you too seriously.

You could maybe build an eight foot high fence around town and cattle gates on the entrances but then we wouldn?t see the deer in our back yards anymore either but at least we could keep on feeding our birds and watching them. We could also keep on putting our garbage cans out like people did for over 20 years without much trouble. Your record of saving bears is so poor that we probably could win an award for killing every bear that comes to town.

Most people that move here like our wilderness and bears are part of it. Come to think of it tourists are also attracted to our wilderness and bears, ?I don?t mean shot ones?. If you want feathers in your hat to have the only bear smart community in BC then find a place that is away from our beloved wilderness. I did not know that BC Conservation Foundation invests money in needless bear killings. Besides the $14,500 you say you received so far cannot even pay your wages, so who is, us? Is it our taxpayer?s money? Maybe you would like to know that most Conservation Officers in parks and other communities are using non-lethal techniques wherever humanly possible, like bear traps, colour marking and relocating and only if they return or get aggressive would they be destroyed. In the 50?s and 60?s I lived in Kitimat, which like Tumbler Ridge was carved into bear country. There were probably ten times the bears in town as we have here. Through my involvement with the SPCA I worked closely with Conservation Officers and I don?t believe we shot as many bears in town in ten years as you allowed in one year here. A bear in town is out of his element and way less likely to attack than he would in the wild, which is his territory. Now if you would bait some bear trap and take them back in the bush you would so something for the bear and the people. We have roads that go for 1OOkm and better into the wilderness. Colour spray the bears, if they come back then its time to do something drastic and please don?t take them just 10 or 15 kms out.

In conclusion – my best wishes to the people of Tumbler Ridge and the bears, may they live together in harmony in 2006.

Sincerely Hans Ruck