Definitely other alternatives

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2001

In regards to Tuesday morning's black bear shootings: I wasn't there, but from reading the articles, talking to others and hearing from my dad (a police officer), it sounds to me like it was a "quick fix." Bears get aggressive - simple fact. So do humans. Do we shoot every human who yells at their dog or gets a little irritated with their neighbor? I understand that the people need to be protected and that the officers had to do what they had to do, but I believe that death is not the only solution we have when dealing with bears that have entered the community.

What about tranquilizing them, then relocating them out the road or on Shelter Island? I remember many times seeing a bear cage full of steak down at the end of my street. It was set in order to trap the bear, not to kill it, and to take it back out the road where both the bear and the humans would be safe. With the situation on Tuesday morning that would not have worked but simply for future occurrences with innocent bears, I know that we can find a better alternative.

Maybe some patrol cars can carry the appropriate tranquilizers in the back just in case. I don't know why the death of these bears hits me so hard. I know what it feels like to be punished for trying to protect someone or something. Although I have hunted before, there is an obvious difference between hunting and killing for convenience. Hunting was a way for me to bond with my dad and my brothers a little bit better. I'd like to know how much bonding was done on Tuesday morning. I am in no way questioning the officer's motives, because bottom line, the community needs to be protected. But for future problems with bears and any other animal, I'd like to be able to know that killing them was our last resort. There are definitely other alternatives.

Michelle Tagaban


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