Stop shooting park bears for getting used to people!

A Bear Got Comfortable with People. Luckily Park Managers Chose to Save Her. Other Parks Must Show Similar Care!

State and national parks represent a tantalizing opportunity for wild animals like bears: the possibility to enjoy lots of convenient, easily-accessed treats. It’s all just a backpack away! When visitors start arriving at parks in large numbers during the summer months, bears often find their way to the same destinations, in search of easy leftover food. Sadly, these human enticements often mean bears and other wildlife wind up dead. That was the case recently with one polar bear in Canada, and a park-dwelling alligator in Florida. But luckily, wildlife managers at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee are choosing a different approach. Other U.S. parks should follow suit!

Not long ago, a female bear in the Great Smoky Mountains made a mouth-watering discovering: food laid out in plain sight on picnic tables, in trash cans, and even in loose backpacks scattered near several camping sites. Naturally, she knew a feast when she saw one! So she ambled around, eating. This type of behavior would put her life in danger anywhere else, and park officials knew they had to intervene fast. Bears who get too comfortable eventually decide to check out cars and homes, and might even be unwilling to run away when a human confronts them — spelling disaster for the bear. So wildlife managers found the bear and relocated her to another park where she’d be further away from humans. They even gave her a GPS collar so they could monitor how she adapted! We need more creative, non-lethal solutions like this. Tell the U.S. National Parks Service to implement a nationwide protocol based on the Great Smoky Mountains’ model! No more bears should die just because they’ve gotten used to humans intruding on their space. Sign the petition to save the animals!

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