Monday, September 9, 2002

First hand account from the recently arrived Mark Groen of moves afoot to remove our resident bear in a humane way.

The bear has been getting up to some interesting exploits lately, including eating a goat, which seems pretty out of character for a bear to me. It seems to spend a lot of time swimming in the local lakes, including Grafton Lake which is the source of our drinking water and Killarney Lake which is the "stroll" for islanders and visitors alike..

There can be no doubt that it is developing a keen sense that humans can be its sugar daddies, even unintentionally, and it is getting more and more used to living with us bipeds.

So, the decision time is coming near in terms of this bear's future, and the only real option that works for everyone is to convince the provincial government to live trap it and take it away before it hurts someone and has to be shot dead. Last week our municipal council voted to have the bear removed in this way, and although they didn't have the power to do anything about it, it seems from Mark's post anyway that they have been successful in convincing the province to come get Bruno.

The decision obviously has profound implications for Bowen. With that motion passing, I think we have officially announced that all 50 square kms of Bowen Island is no longer wilderness. If we can't allow a bear to roam free here (and we can't...people are just not willing to accommodate it) then we have said that no longer will bears, cougars and other predators be allowed to live here. In short, Bowen has officially gone from wilderness to garden.

This is not a bad thing in and of itself, and is certainly a lot better than having one of my kids mauled by a bear, but I do think that it merits noticing, and maybe grieving. We have officially passed a mark that we may have passed in practice years ago, but there will be no going back, at least as long as people live on this rock. More and more residents will be flocking to our shores in the years to come, and many more of them will be unprepared for the next bear that makes its way over here.

So if and when the bear is trapped and relocated to the continent, maybe I'll organize a send off party for it, and we can see a piece of Bowen history fade into the ocean spray, gone forever.

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