A bear shot dead in the front yard of a Colorado woman sparked outrage over the weekend. According to CBS News, Alice Tinder woke up to find the black bear dead in the front yard of her home on Friday. She was used to seeing the bear on her property and in the neighborhood.
Other residents of the Cheyenne Mountain Estates community had seen the bear wandering their neighborhood in the past, and they had no fear of the creature. It was a part of their lives, and residents are now upset that someone killed the friendly black bear.
Nick Bonck lives across the street from Alice Tinder, and he expressed his sadness over the death of the black bear to the media.
“For somebody to take a shot at him like that, it’s disheartening that somebody would do that. It’s really disappointing because he was such a part of our lives up here. That’s the reason you live up here on the mountain … to live around the animals.”
Alice Tinder also spoke to the media about the discovery of the 400-pound bear in her front yard. Her son found it on Friday morning, and he told her to call the police immediately, according to KKTV.
“I looked outside and it was laying right out there, 10 feet from the road. We see him here all the time. They don’t really hurt anybody. That’s terrible. I think that’s terrible. It wasn’t hurting anybody.”
Poacher Kills Bear Beloved By Residents Of Colorado Springs Neighborhood: Residents of a Colorado Springs community… http://t.co/pfodoq4zgU
— Northeast Denver (@NEDenver) July 13, 2015
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is now investigating the shooting, and an award of $500 is offered for any information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible. That person could be fined $20,000 for killing the bear. The CPW website shared more about the bears in the state. The site also shares links to information about how to handle a bear situation in your neighborhood or in the wild.
“Today, bears are sharing space with a growing human population. Curious, intelligent, and very resourceful, black bears will explore all possible food sources. If they find food near homes, campgrounds, vehicles, or communities, they’ll come back for more. Bears will work hard to get the calories they need, and can easily damage property, vehicles, and homes. Bears that become aggressive in their pursuit of an easy meal must often be destroyed. Every time we’re forced to destroy a bear, it’s not just the bear that loses. We all lose a little piece of the wildness that makes Colorado so special.”
According to Defenders of Wildlife, the American black bear is an omnivore. That means its diet consists of “fruits, nuts, insects, honey, salmon, small mammals and carrion. In northern regions, they eat spawning salmon.” In rare cases, black bears will eat young deer or moose calves. The black bear can be found across North America. In the United States, the bears are found in 40 states. There are more than 300,000 bears found in the country.
It is likely the bear shot in Colorado was searching for food. Bears “usually forage alone, but will tolerate each other and forage in groups if there is an abundance of food in one area.”
Black bear poaching is a problem in the United States. Parts of the black bear are used in traditional Asian culture to make herbal remedies and aphrodisiacs. Outdoor Life shared about the importance of black bears in Asian culture.
“Bear gallbladders, for example, and other animal parts have been key ingredients in Asian medicines and aphrodisiacs for centuries. Their use in these potions is so deeply ingrained in the culture that they are considered necessities. And efforts to change those traditions have met with little success. In similar circumstances, the total ban on trade in rhinoceros and tiger parts, for instance, has failed to have significant impact on consumer demand for them in Asia.”
However, it is illegal in North America for hunters that kill bears legally to sell off the body parts from their kills. There is a black market of bear parts that might end if hunters could legally sell the parts from their own kills. Idaho, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia do have laws that allow the selling of parts from kills in their own state. Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Rhode Island have laws that allow the sale of bear galls from kills outside their state.
If more states passed laws that allowed hunters to sell body parts, it might cut down on the poaching of bears. At this time, it is estimated that hunters shoot 40,000 to 50,000 bears legally each year. If those bears were used for their parts, it could fulfill the need by Asians that use the parts as a part of their daily living.
Bear poaching is illegal. Just last week, a bear poaching ring was taken down in Montana. The leader of the ring actually called authorities himself, but he put the blame on others of his group, according to Wide Open Spaces.
“Officials received an anonymous tip following Harrison’s call that he (Harrison) was the one responsible for baiting the bears. Photographic evidence of Harrison preparing a bait site ultimately sealed the charges brought against him. What is being tagged as the largest bear poaching case in Montana history could result in a maximum of 45 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for Harrision. His accomplices, Richard Sublette and Kyle L. Whyard, received minimal jail sentences and combined fines totaling nearly $9,000. Both men also lose their hunting privileges for five years.”
Bears are known to wander into neighborhoods frequently. In the last month, several instances of bears wandering into residential areas have been reported. One juvenile black bear climbed a tree in a Bakersfield neighborhood. A resident called in the authorities about the bear, but the one-year-old bear had climbed up too high for the woman that arrived to dart it safely, according to the Bakersfield Californian.
Vicky Monroe, from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, spoke about this bear with the media. Monroe decided to leave the area and allow the bear to climb down and leave on its own.
“Usually, the earliest we start seeing them is July. This little guy is starting summer off early. We can’t dart it. That’s what I came here to do this morning, but he’s too far up. He’s very scared already, and the more frightened it gets, the higher it goes. It’s already gone up about 15 feet since I got here. This bear poses absolutely zero pubic safety risk. We’re so close to the outskirts here.”
Not all bear encounters start so friendly. A previous Inquisitr report shared the story of a Colorado man. Peter Rizzuto woke up to find a bear had his ankle in its mouth.
“I thought it was a German shepherd. I started petting it and saying ‘nice doggy.’ It then took my ankle but didn’t break the skin. Then I saw and looked down at his feet, and I see these big claws with really beautiful nails, and at this time I realize he’s a bear, being the hick I am, but not really. I’ve lived here 45 years.”
The bear dropped the man’s ankle and left the area. Rizzuto went back into his home and reported the incident to the authorities. He joked that the bear must not have liked how he tasted.
More bear sightings could happen in the weeks to come. Bears are usually spotted more in summer and early fall.
What do you think of this bear shooting in Colorado? Have you ever seen a black bear in your neighborhood?
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]