Bear down

Resilience and multispecies ethology

Authored by: Brett Buchanan

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138786745
eBook ISBN: 9781315766355
Adobe ISBN: 9781317660194


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On the morning of July 30, 2015, a black bear was discovered dead on a driveway at the north end of Sudbury, a city of 150,000 humans in northeastern Ontario, Canada. When officers from the Greater Sudbury Police, along with an official from the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), appeared on the scene, they discovered that the bear had died from a bullet wound. It had been killed. According to one report, the bear’s death was a “vigilante killing” by a city resident who took matters into his or her own hands (Moodie, “Vigilante”). The “vigilante” label stems from the fact that Sudbury—though located in the heart of Ontario’s black bear country—was experiencing an unprecedented rate of bear sightings and “nuisance” behavior within city limits, and a proportion of the general public, though divided on the reasons behind recent bear behavior, blamed their unusually high presence on a lack of management and protection by qualified officials. 1 Even though there were no visible signs or reports of threatening behavior by the bear, it was nevertheless shot and left to die in what the police called an “inhumane” manner.

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