The Missing Element from Predatory Bear Story

Michael Platt of the Calgary Sun fills in some information about the case of a grizzly bear put down by wildlife officials there following a lethal attack on a human. Apparently, there was outrage over the bear being euthanized, but Platt lays out the case that the bear had acted in a predatory fashion (or at least the assertions from the wildlife officials that the case was one of predation), and that the bear was euthanized to prevent any further predation of humans by that bear.

While Platt notes the tension between goals of grizzly bear conservation in the face of their endangerment and providing safety for citizens, one thing is conspicuous by its absence from the article: habitat loss. This is a critical part of the equation, that as humans develop and have expanding populations, they displace wildlife on the one hand and are placed into direct proximity with the remaining wildlife on the other. It is also a factor that puts the interests of humans directly into conflict with effective conservation and wildlife management. As more habitat is converted to human use, those will become more and more difficult. This is a tough issue because there is no apparent win-win strategy to deal with habitat loss, only varying views on where a balance should be struck between human exploitation and wildlife conservation.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.