It seems like Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is itching for bear-hunting season to begin. The department announced over the weekend their intentions to kill a wild black bear they believe has become “too friendly” with hikers.
Stephanie Rivkin was hiking the trails at Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area when she was approached by a young male bear with red tags and another bear. The tagged bear, who is about 1 1/2 years old and weighs about 150 pounds, was particularly interested in her and it touched Rivkin’s leg. Instead of taking precautionary steps to put distance between herself and the bear, Rivkin instead recorded some of the encounter on her phone, even walking after the bear and talking to him when he turned around to leave (see video below).
DEEP officials then announced plans to euthanize the bear over the weekend, causing an uproar on social media. By Monday, more than 8,000 people had signed an online petition to spare the bear’s life.
It’s this type of behavior by humans that helps to encourage human/bear encounters which result in unnecessarily drastic and deadly measures being taken by wildlife officials like the DEEP. Instances like this could be avoided if governmental wildlife agencies would take the time to correctly educate the public on what to do if they are approached by a bear in the wild (where the bears were first!).
Instead, the current policy is that the DEEP puts its own interests ahead of the lives of wildlife and releases statements like the one below, in an attempt to justify their decision:“There are occasions, like this one, however, when stronger action must be taken to protect the safety of the public. While we appreciate your concerns, imagine the public outcry that would develop if no effort was made to locate and euthanize this bear and in another future encounter it actually harms someone.”
We have long advocated for methods that encourage peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife and are adamant that the government agencies who are funded by taxpayers should be doing the same instead of spreading wildlife-hating propaganda. Check out our full guide to peacefully co-existing with bears right here. You can speak out against this unnecessary and unjustified death sentence of this black bear by sending your comments to the CT DEEP commissioner, Rob Klee at : firstname.lastname@example.org