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Fish and Game Needs to Focus not on Sinnott's Words but on Wildlife

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / August 3, 2005

Biologist Rick Sinnott (with Jessy Coltrane) has worked incredibly hard to protect people from wildlife and keep wildlife in our city. He is always on call to help. But he has gotten little thanks or support.

Sinnott finally expressed frustration with yet another stupid invitation to a bear attack -- a gut pile dumped right in town. And what is Fish and Game's response? Suspend Sinnott from dealing with bear problems ("State hogties bear expert over remark," July 28).

If Sinnott violated agency policy, a reprimand would be appropriate. But Fish and Game should say loud and clear that dumping that gut pile was wrong -- and keep him on the job.

Sinnott tried to get the municipality to keep domestic garbage away from bears. Mayor Mark Begich actually said it isn't the city's problem! But that's wrong -- the muni agreed to cooperate in reducing human-bear conflicts when it adopted the interagency "Living with Wildlife" plan in 2000. (Thankfully, the muni and the state are now discussing the issue.)

We can make some compromises in order to keep wildlife in Anchorage. Or we can keep ignoring the problems -- but then more animals will cause trouble, more will have to be eliminated, and ultimately wildlife will disappear.

Which choice do we want?

Vivian Mendenhall, Ph.D. / Anchorage

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