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  Leave the Bears Alone!

Letters / Anchorage Press / August 25, 2005

I was born in "Spenard," Alaska, at least that's what my birth certificate says. When I was 6 years old my family moved to Nikiski and we commercial set net fished five miles north of the mouth of Swanson River. We had bears, moose, wolves, coyotes and all kinds of wild animals around our cabin frequently. Our cabin had a creek running next to it and there was a sow bear that had three cubs every other year. She would bring her cubs to the creek to drink and the four of them would play and romp on the beach. She never crossed the creek to our side where our cabin was, even when we had fish lying under burlap by our cabin and close to the creek. My father taught me to respect the wildlife. We never tried to run her or her cubs off or shoot them or anything because they had a right to be there too.

There have been bears at Russian River since time began; there have been bears in the Anchorage bowl and all over the state forever. What makes people think that bears should stay away from you just because you build your house or recreate near or at the bears' normal hunting grounds?

For those of you who seem to think killing all the bears will fix the problem, I've got news for you: If you leave them alone and let them have their space, they will go away as long as you don't leave anything enticing for them.

When I got older and had my first child my husband and I bought some land on the Kenai and built a cabin. The trail to the cabin was a good 50 yards from where we parked the trucks. We had to haul water and lived with no electricity unless we started the generator. One morning, I and my daughter and a friend who had been staying with us were going into town to get water. There was a moose in the middle of our trail snacking on some birch limbs we had cut down. We did not shoot the moose or try to scare it off, we let the moose do what he needed to do and he moved on in about an hour.

Why don't you leave Mother Nature to run her business and you as a human on this planet run yours? If that means you might have to bear-proof your yard, garbage or whatever, then do it. Otherwise, go live somewhere else. Real Alaskans love our wildlife and we really want it left alone.

Why is it necessary to kill? Don't you understand it's not the animals' fault, it's yours? We are all responsible for this planet together and the life that inhabits our great Earth.

Let's have some compassion, people, and next time there is a bear in your yard, just stay in your house and watch, it is quite majestic to see and you can count yourself fortunate that you got to witness such beauty in this Great Land we call Alaska.

Sherrie Abbott / Anchorage

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