It has been a very busy season for many of the animal bylaw officers right across the region. I am from Fort Frances and as of Aug. 18, we have had 44 reported bear sightings.
Out of these 44 sightings, five bears had to be immobilized and two others destroyed for being aggressive.
Sightings started the second week of July in our town, which is weeks earlier then past years. I know Kenora has had similar circumstances, but a higher recorded number of sightings (150) and removed/relocated 18 bears.
I have read many other articles from other northern communities that relay the same information. Bear problems are on the rise and so is the fear in the communities!
The reason for this letter is to try and knock some well-needed sense into the minister of natural resources, David Ramsay. When will he realize his “Bear Wise” campaign is a joke.
I say to Mr. Ramsay, “Move into one of our towns and walk the talk for the months of August, September, and October!”
Lets explore some facts. The Ministry of Natural Resources cancels the spring bear hunt and the bear population grows. Since bears are territorial, when the population grows, bears have to move into different areas in search of food.
In this case, these bears are moving into our towns/communities.
This year, due to the lack of rain and subsequent dry conditions in the bush, these bears cannot find food in their natural environment. Again, even more of these animals are finding their way into the communities for food.
The Ministry of Natural Resources campaign wishes to blame it on the residents of our communities for improper disposal of our garbage, which lures the bears into our neighbourhoods.
Let me say something to these officials: THAT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE!
The campaign also states that there is very little increase in the bear population, they are not aggressive animals, and they are shy of humans. Living in Fort Frances, I can honestly say this is not the case.
They are becoming very comfortable in our towns and have no problem being around humans. I have experienced it, as well as many of my family, friends, and neighbours.
The biggest joke of this whole campaign is “Bears in your school yard . . . what can you do.”
I think I speak for many of the concerned parents that you are full of it! It is one thing to explain to your child to slowly back away towards the school while making noises, yell at the bear to go away, don’t play dead, do not turn and run, etc.
But when it come right down to it, do you really think a six-year-old child will do that? My guess is they will panic, cry, and run.
I am very nervous and uncomfortable about having my son walk to school. I have to work and he cannot take the bus because the child care provider lives too close to the school.
Tell me, Mr. Ramsay, when it becomes the end of September and those bears are starving, do you not think that this poses no risk to our children with their lunches in their back packs?
Get real, Mr. Ramsay, it is time to deal with the problem and come up with solutions to control the bear population. Bring back the spring bear hunt! You have some major political supporters counting on you—and they are called taxpayers!
Fort Frances, Ont.