Sunday, November 25, 2012

Orphaned Kermode Bear Makes International Headlines

“Clover”, the orphaned and twice captured Kermode bear, finally found a permanent home at Kamloops Wildlife Park. But is all well? No. The notorious animal-rights activist group Lifeforce immediately started an international media campaign with which they lobby the release of the young bear back into the wild. Peter Hamilton, the leader of Lifeforce and the man who once suggested instituting a hunting season on hunters, wrote in a letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark and NDP leader Adrian Dix, "Give this bear freedom. We don't need another exploited circus bear pacing back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. We don't need people profiting off the plight of this bear."

The truth of the matter is that the bear, which had gotten used to people, would return to humans every time as he has done in the past. In addition bears are notoriously territorial and no matter how far away they are taken they always will return to their original territory and very often need to be shot by Conservation Officers. In addition, given that “Clover” is only 18 months old his survival chances in another male bear’s territory would be slim at best. With all that in mind the best place for this bear is a facility like the Wildlife Park in Kamloops. Of course animal rights activists are not known to care about facts. Theirs is a purely emotional agenda based on wishful thinking and aimed largely at metropolitan populations that are totally removed from the natural world. People who have been spoon-fed a Walt Disney view of nature.

 I am glad to see that the management of the Wildlife Park has not bowed down to the animal rights activist’s vilification and intimidation media frenzy with the goal to bully the park into releasing the bear back into the wild. The park management stated that the bear will stay at his new home and adjusted very well, he even gained several pounds since his arrival in Kamloops. The bear has already developed a bond with his handler Artice Fleck. "He's taken to us and starts coming up to us for food right away and it's just really nice to see him and really exciting to work with him," said Fleck.

If we really care about wildlife conservation and animal welfare we need to be approach it from a scientific point of view and by experts, rather than the emotional money-driven animal rights agendas. Clover will be a huge attraction for the park visitors and will also serve as an ambassador for his species. In these times where more people lose their connection to nature our zoos and wildlife parks are the only places where people can safely see, hear, smell and learn to understand the other species with which we share our planet.

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