Bears did not create 'garbage-bear' problem

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2002

In response to "bear or human" in which Adel Chapman writes, "which is really the problem?" I would like to expand on that perception. For too many years we have attributed the "bear" problem either to garbage and/or humans.

Let's get the facts straight. Just an option, but as I see it the problem began when these hatcheries were put into effect. These hatcheries have created disruption with our system. Look at the streams that used to be abundant with fish returning from the oceans. Pretty sparse today as opposed to days gone by.

Recall when you were able to drive up the old Montana Creek Road and see bears feeding in the creek off of the returning fish from the ocean to spawn. The younger bears were taught to catch these fish to fatten themselves up for the upcoming winter.

Now we have these hatcheries where the returning fish can come back to. Leaving the creeks pretty (excuse the pun) bare. What does that leave bears to do ... find other food sources. Thus "garbage bears." With fewer fish going up the creeks, what was left for mama bear to do other than bring her cubs down to find food, as any other parent would have done. After all, fish is the main source of food to fatten up the bears to prepare for their winter siesta. Sure there are the berries as well, but it is the fish that enhances their diet, which layers their body with fat. The fat is what keeps them alive while they are sleeping in the winter months. Fish have the necessary proteins to create the fat necessary to sustain them through the hibernation.

Bears did not create the "garbage-bear era," fish hatcheries did. That is only my opinion. Thank you.

Darlene Thomas


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