The North Fork Bear News is out! If you are on the mailing list, you should have it now or be getting it soon. If you are not on the mailing list, or just don’t want to wait, you can read it online here (in color, no less).
This year’s issue has lots of good content about bears, but its primary motivation is the (unnecessary) risk to “Patti Bear,” a young female North Fork grizzly. Here’s what the Bear News people have to say . . .
Dear Fellow North Forkers:
A few of us have resurrected the North Fork Bear News in response to Tim Manley’s warning at the winter Interlocal meeting that he may have to remove Patti Bear this summer if she gets another food reward. We don’t want to see that happen, and we’re confident the rest of the North Fork community doesn’t want to see it happen either. So we’ve decided to get the word out, and we invite you to do the same.
It’s been a long time since the North Fork has lost a bear because of human food rewards, and we have a good reputation for keeping our camps clean and our bears safe. Patti Bear’s story isn’t over yet – Manley says she can still learn to stay out of trouble and he’s made it clear that the last thing he wants to do is kill a bear. But now more than ever, her survival is up to us.
Preventing Patti or any other bear from getting a food reward is simple, and most of us know the drill: don’t leave food or garbage out where bears can get to it. But if it’s so simple and we know the drill, why is a grizzly bear’s life on the line because of human food rewards?
It’s a question each of us needs to ask ourselves if we are serious about the welfare of bears on the North Fork. And it’s not a stretch to say that the welfare of our neighbors and their property is at stake, too. Most of us know what a food conditioned grizzly bear can do to a cabin, or to a person.
Putting up electric fencing, cleaning up dog food or garbage, or removing dead ground squirrels from the yard can be inconvenient, and everyone enjoys seeing birds at a birdfeeder. The question ultimately becomes whether a bear’s life is worth a little extra cleanup or giving up our birdfeeders. We think it is. With a little extra effort on all our parts, Patti Bear can stay wild, free, and alive.