Baiting bears is bad for Alaska

Letters to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2004

On Nov. 2, Alaskans will have the opportunity to vote on the fourth ballot initiative since statehood that has dealt with wildlife issues. Ballot measure 3 is asking voters to approve a ban on bear baiting; a practice where hunters place donuts, pastries, bacon grease and other human foods in a barrel to lure bears to area where they can be shot.

For the past two years, Defenders of Wildlife has worked closely with the Department of Fish and Game and other agencies to educate the public about the handling of garbage and human food in order to avoid conflicts with bears. We also inform residents of the state law that prohibits the negligent feeding of bears through improperly stored garbage and food. As a result of these efforts, the number of food-conditioned bears killed in the Anchorage area has greatly decreased.

Training bears to eat human food is a bad idea for everyone concerned. It's clearly bad for bears, but it's also bad for Alaskans who live in bear country. Bear baiting undermines all the work that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and its partners have done to keep human food away from bears, threatens the safety and property of rural residents and should not be permitted in Alaska.

Karen Deatherage

Alaska Program Associate

Defenders of Wildlife

Anchorage



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