Bears and People
Human populations have grown, in fact, they have almost tripled in this century alone,
and the population growth needs more space. More and more land is needed for farming, forestry,
industry and housing. This has happened so fast that no species of bear is common any more,
anywhere in the world, and some, such as the
Giant Panda Bear and the
are very rare. Bears are threatened, even in protected areas.
The greatest threat bears has been loss
of their habitats i.e. their homes.
The problem is that once a population becomes small the stochastic or random factors become
much more important.
Bear owners from the cities of Eastern Europe and Asia train bears to
walk on their back legs and perform different tricks.
(picture left by Alojzije Frkovic in ex Yugoslavia show brown bear on its back legs
as performer. It seems to be tradition in many parts of eastern Europa).
make money from their performing animals. This practice has been banned in Western Europe
at the beginning of this century. Unfortunately hunters that are looking for a young bear
to train will shoot his mother dead, to sell her fur and to prevent her defending her cub.
Many bears are threatened to the extent that they are endangered and have protected status, but people are still
hunting them for trophies, for food such as to make soup, for fun and for traditional medicine
(some people believe that a bears gall bladder can cure certain illnesses), and also for making clothing.
We need to know more about bears to be able to protect them and give them enough space to survive over the long term.
The destruction and disruption of their habitat is an enormous threat to their survival and providing them
with protected areas in which to live safely will help to prevent their extinction.
Many bear populations have reached the point where they cannot survive on their own without human help.
There are currently very few safe places for bears, such as the Kitlope Wilderness, the Khutzymateen Valley Wilderness,
the Spirit Bear Wilderness and maybe a couple more.
Unfortunately, those areas are not enough to ensure the survival of bear populations.
People need to be made aware that there are only about 1000 Pandas left. Tomorrow we may be saddened
at the loss of more Pandas.
The best thing that humans can do is to tolerate the wildlife nearby, understand their needs
and give them the space they need to survive.
We need to start today with conservation because tomorrow will be too late.