The tricky business of wild animals

Sometimes there's no choice but to put down wild animals, Northern Sentinel editor Cameron Orr argues.

Remember when a black bear in Kitimat got a craving for a Cold Cut Combo?

The story, which got international attention (and this editor on the CBC, even), was the black bear opened the doors of our local Subway restaurant, scaring the daylights out of the morning worker, before leaving without actually eating anything.

The bear, as could have been expected, was eventually put down once conservation officers could track it down.

So began the flood of comments that the Conservation Officer Service is mis-named if all they do is kill everything.

Indeed it can be hard to take the news that animals which we humans find so easy to bond with were put down, for what might seem like no purpose. The wolves from last week’s cover, for instance, weren’t harming anyone.

Except maybe it’s we who were harming them.

Now, the tragically under-resourced argument aside for the Conservation Officers, there were some good points for why those wolves had to go.

For one, it would do no good for them or their offspring to lose the ability or desire to hunt their own food. That is just asking for trouble.

And then there’s the cozyness of the animals, who had no trouble walking up to people hoping for a handout.

Imagine someone came by to take a look without having any food. And what if those wolves happened to be very hungry at that time. Would the wolves politely thank the visitor for their time, or would they get angry, frustrated, and attack?

Maybe they could have moved the wolves somewhere else. Perhaps another animal’s territory. The COs said they would have easily made it to another town or work camp. It would have only moved the problem, not solved it.

If we can respect wildlife in the sense of respecting their natural instincts we can prevent further problems.

Don’t feed the animals. Keep garbage out of access. Pick the fruit off your trees.

And, when you see an animal, only admire it from afar.

Cameron Orr is the editor of the Kitimat Northern Sentinel.

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