The myth of wildlife ‘relocation’

  • [photo by Casey Bridge]

    [photo by Casey Bridge]

By Patric Hedlund, TME

Texts, tweets and facebook post are still crackling across the Mountain Communities’ cybersphere this week about the killing of the “blond-cinnamon” bear that was shot and killed on Saturday, July 11, in Pine Mountain Club.

Heidi Ploen of PMC sent a text echoing the outrage of many: “How dare they! Why couldn’t they tranquilize it and release it on Mt. Pinos? Was that too much trouble? This infuriates me! How many more times does it need to be said: We are the intruders. This is the bears’ land. Shame on Fish and Wildlife!”

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Abigail “Abby” Gwinn is patient with these questions.

“We don’t relocate problem wildlife for a number of reasons,” Gwinn said shortly after the bear was killed.

“It rarely solves the problem, especially for bears,” she explained, recalling the story of a black bear that was captured, fitted with a radio collar, taken 200 miles away “and then it returned to the same habitat within two weeks.”

“That is number one,” Gwinn continued. “Number two is the potential of putting that bear in another bear’s home range, which would…(please see below to view full stories and photographs)

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Is it really possible to “relocate” black bears to a new habitat? The question is raised constantly when problem bears are being targeted for a depredation permit after breaking into homes repeatedly and possibly injuring a person.

Ideally, a bear never feels comfortable strolling through human territory.

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This is part of the July 24, 2020 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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