One bear is dead, another is injured or dead, and nothing has been resolved following a conflict situation in a U.S. national park.
WBIR in Tennessee has reported that following a conflict in which a camper was injured by a bear while sleeping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, DNA samples have revealed numerous errors in judgement.
Rangers shot and killed a bear seen in the area of the original conflict, after the injured teen and his father were removed from the site. They later shot another bear, but it ran away and it is unknown if it was killed or merely injured.
DNA samples taken from the site of the conflict and compared with the bear killed by rangers have confirmed that they killed an innocent animal. Samples of blood from the second bear, which has still not been found, indicate that it was at least related to the bear involved in the original incident (65 per cent match).
Words like ‘euthanized’ were used by park officials, but it remains fact that wild animals were killed or injured in a brutal fashion because of reactive policies. There was no evidence that either bear was involved in this incident, nor that a repeat of the conflict would occur – particularly since officials still didn’t know why the original conflict happened.
Shoot-first policies in parks and municipalities are a result of a lack of education, training and funding to first responders and wildlife officials. We may not have influence in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, but our voices can certainly be heard here in British Columbia and Canada.
Photo by Kerri Martin Photography
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