On Tuesday, June 16, a two-year-old black bear stumbled onto the streets of Rochester. This is very rare, and not surprisingly, residents were wondering, "Why is there a bear on my street?" The bear ended up in a tree on Dewey Avenue in the city, and it stayed up there for several hours in the morning. People flocked around the tree to take pictures of this rare sighting; indeed, it seemed more of a fanfare than a concern to most residents. When police and wildlife authorities came to the scene, the plan was to wait for the bear to climb down from the tree. But the bear did not come down, and quite frankly, who can blame it? The poor animal was petrified with all of the shouting and flash photography. With the authorities getting impatient, they decided they would take the bear down. A wildlife expert shot a tranquilizer dart into the hip of the bear, and the bear fell to a sudden death when it hit the ground. How could this have happened?
As I write this blog, I have to admit that I am both saddened and disgusted by the events that happened this day. First of all, shouldn't the police have blocked off the streets and cleared the crowd so that the bear would not be so petrified? I can say that I am ashamed of how people put aside the needs of this innocent bear and instead let the crowd stay. Where was the humanity?
There are many speculations as to the cause of the bear's death. I have heard that the wildlife vet gave the bear too much tranquilizer. Many people have also said that the net that was used to catch the bear as it fell was not stable enough. For the story and video, click here.
This bear deserved better. He did not need to die. Sometimes I am ashamed of how people handle situations, but this makes my blood boil. Is this where humanity is headed? Do we set aside wildlife and look past the wounds incurred on helpless animals while we focus on our jet set lives? Let's put our heads together and think about why the bear was in the city in the first place. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that black bears and countless other wildlife are losing their habitats. Let's do this bear justice, and work to make sure this never happens again. The first step is to open our eyes and wake up.