I was shocked to read in Wednesday's Empire that the black bear cub whose mother had been shot was euthanized within 24 hours of the mother's death. The article stated the decision to euthanize had been made by Fish and Game because they had been unable to find a zoo to place the cub.
I grew up in Interior Alaska in the 1960s and early '70s. My father worked for what was then called the Fish and Game Protection Division as a game warden. Twice during those years, our family took care of two different pairs of black bear cubs whose mothers had been shot. While we cared for the cubs, Fish and Game and other community groups searched for homes for them. It took a couple of weeks each time, during which we thoroughly enjoyed caring for and learning about the cubs. One pair was sent down to Disney Studios, and the Lions Club arranged for the second pair to be sent to a zoo in Madrid, Spain. Everyone involved benefited from this solution - the cubs, the community and the recipients of the animals.
My question is this: Have times really changed so much in 30 years that the same amount of effort can't be made today to find a home for an orphaned black bear cub? I find it hard to believe that Fish and Game could have made much of an effort to place the bear within 24 hours. Don't we at least owe it to the cub to draw upon our vast community resources to find a home for it? Unfortunately, this situation may happen again. If it does, I hope the community is allowed to participate in taking responsibility for finding a home for the orphaned animal.
Juneau Empire ©2014. All Rights Reserved.