We should rejoice

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2002

I would like to bring to the attention of your readers an opportunity to intervene on the behalf of a rare and exquisite animal - the solitary white "spirit" black bear - which lives near Juneau (Empire, page one, Monday).

Related Story:

Sighting a 'spirit' bear

Those interested should visit www.JuneauPhotos.com to view images of the animal. I would also ask them to call or send e-mail comments (via the state and city of Juneau Web sites) to the governor, lieutenant governor, commissioner of Fish and Game and the mayor of Juneau. Your participation can save the spirit bear from needlessly winding up on someone's wall.

Hunting black bear is legal and there are thousands of them living throughout Alaska. While I personally find killing bear for sport wasteful and morally questionable, I am not asking to change existing laws. Instead, I'm asking that officials intercede and declare the spirit bear off limits as they do for "white phase" moose in game management Unit 20. For the sake of intraspecies genetic depth and diversity, expression of a white coat by a black bear is exceedingly rare and should be allowed to follow a natural course.

To those who would potentially hunt and kill the bear, I ask you to question yourself: Do I have the right to kill such a unique creature? Rather we should all rejoice in the knowledge that the animal lives and though we may never personally experience an encounter with the bear we should protect its right to exist.

Mark Farmer

Anchorage



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