Wolf Song of Alaska News

Punish Those Who Endanger Bears and Humans by Feeding Wildlife

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / April 28, 2007

It's been extensively and scientifically documented by Dr. Stephen Herrero, the National Park Service and many other scientists of the dangers involved in feeding black and grizzly bears human or dog food and bird seed. Feeding bears, whether intentional or not, in effect trains them to associate food with people.

Those who do this are not the ones who usually suffer the consequences of property damage, personal injury or death; it is typically those who encounter these bears in the future who pay these costs. This is especially the case in lean years when natural foods are not sufficient to support bears within their home range.

Furthermore, females pass down behaviors that they have learned to their cubs; thereby Charlie Vandergaw is creating generations of problem bears for current and future residents and recreationists ("Bear man," April 15).

I would like to propose that anyone who intentionally feeds bears is held financially responsible for any property damage, human injury or death that they may cause.

Additionally, if any human injury or deaths occur, then criminal charges should also be filed against the person responsible for the training of those bears, where that person can be identified.

Only by holding people responsible for their actions can we not only protect people in bear country but also the bears themselves.

---- Bill Watkins / Anchorage

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