URGENT - PLEASE HELP SAVE MOTHER BEAR IN PETOSKEY, MI
This petition made change with 2,483 supporters!
Update 12/1/10: Although I had heard the good news before from Born Free USA (thank you!), I was trying to get a written statement from the DNR, with no success. Finally, on Nov. 19th, it was confirmed by the media: the DNR gave up on the search for the mother bear and cubs that were involved in the incident with the hunter in Petoskey, MI!
HUGE THANKS to all of you who signed this petition and contacted by e-mail, mail and/or phone, one or several times, the parties involved. THANK YOU also for spreading the word! The overwhelming response we were able to generate in just a few days after the incident put a lot of pressure on the DNR and most likely influenced them on their decision to give up on the search for the mother bear.
Please take a moment to rejoice from the great news! ... and after that help us make sure the bear will remain safe, even after the cold weather months. The DNR stated that coming this Spring, if the bear makes any contact with humans, she will be killed. Please contact once more the officials listed below and urge them to try scare tactics to keep the bear away in the case she approaches humans. Bear aversion conditioning techniques have proven very effective in other states... and there's always the option to send her -and the cubs- to a sanctuary. Encourage them also to educate the public about ways to prevent encounters and avoid conflicts with bears (sealing and proper disposal of trash, adequate storage of pet food, stopping intentional or unintentional feeding of bears, using noise and body language to scare bears away, etc.) Below is their contact information:
>Russ Mason - MDNRE Wildlife Division Chief, MasonR2@michigan.gov
>Rebecca A. Humphries - MDNRE Director, HUMPHRIR@michigan.gov
>Jennifer M. Granholm - Governor of Michigan, email@example.com
THANK YOU again!
On Oct. 9 a deer hunter in Emmet Co, MI had an encounter with a mother bear and her cubs. According to a MDNRE press release , the bears were probably lured by the fried food scents on the hunter's clothing (he had been at a family party previously). The hunter said at first the two cubs climbed up the tree-stand ladder, and when he shouted at them, they dropped to the ground. A third cub then climbed the tree, and he punched and elbowed the cub until it fell from the tree. Then the mama bear, who obviously perceived the hunter as a threat to her cubs, climbed up the tree and bit the hunter in the leg. He was treated in the hospital and released. The MDNRE says that black bears are shy by nature, and have a fear of humans. However, "A sow will do whatever it takes to protect her cubs if she perceives a threat. In this case, the hunter was not threatening the cubs, but the sow apparently thought he was, and she attacked him." said DNRE Wildlife Chief Russ Mason. Now, the MDNRE has decided to trap and kill the mother bear, and orphan her cubs. Please don't allow this injustice to happen!
It's unfortunate that the hunter got bit on the leg; although, some risks have to be expected when hunting in a rural area where bears are present, alone, smelling like fried food, with no scare off devices or anything else to protect himself from the wild. Are we now going to kill animals for doing what animals do - especially a mother bear for defending her cubs, like any mother would?
As Mary Dettloff, MDNRE public information officer, said to the Petoskey News: "The situation may just resolve itself once (the bear) is in hibernation (from November to early spring), it's not a threat to anyone."
Please take action by sending a polite comment to Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and the MDNRE Wildlife Chief Russ Mason, asking them to allow this mother bear to live. Also, ask them to enforce rules so humans don't attract bears and other wildlife (with garbage, mainly) to avoid future encounters that could result in an accident. You can also call Governor Granholm at 517-335-7858 or 517-373-3400 and Chief Mason at 517-335-4085 to express your request.
Photo credit: Susan Kehoe
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