New Maryland — After multiple bear sightings in recent days, New Maryland residents and councillors are speaking out.
New Maryland Mayor Judy Wilson-Shee held a special town council meeting to discuss concerns and options to address the issue.
“Close interactions between bears are humans are still very rare and brief. All it takes is a few people flinging their chicken bones from Wetmore’s to the curb the night before garbage pickup, or hanging a bird feeder full of fat and seeds, and you’ve got a buffet for Winnie, Smokey and Yogi. DNR’s phone has been ringing off the hook,” sighed Wilson-Shee.
Minister of Natural Resources Mike Holland supports the mayor, and is advising people to take extra precautions like removing all bird feeders and open garbage bins, and watching out for children and pets at dusk, especially around garbage pickup day.
“Seeing wildlife, especially bears and cubs, is a great sign of a healthy, thriving ecosystem. If we have to feed a kid to a bear once in a while to remind them that they’re not all that delicious, I feel it’s a small price to pay,” Holland said. “Sometimes you just need to give back to reset the balance. Everything happens for a reason.”
While environmentalists support a passive, harmonious approach, others feel threatened and want to quickly take the upper hand.
With many sightings happening in booming residential areas, new homeowners like Mary Langille want action.
“I didn’t pay $400,000 for a $200,000 bungalow to have some bear invade my space. I want it trapped, tranquillized, and shipped out of town where it probably won’t find a suitable habitat, starve to death, or be chased away by other bears. I never had this problem in Peterborough, Ontario. I’m done with ‘No Mow May.’ It’s time for ‘Kill the Bears June’!”
Local contractors are also surprised by the number of bear sightings, but see no relationship to the amount of new construction in the area.
Contractor Bruce Jenkins has been building homes in New Maryland for 20 years, and reports frequently seeing bears around his new job sites.
“When this was all woods and swampy farmland, you would maybe see one or two bears a year. Now that we’ve blown it wide open with homes, playgrounds, and an elementary school backed onto the woods, all of a sudden there’s bears everywhere! It’s like they were here the entire time! I don’t get it!”
Major Wilson-Shee plans to have a followup meeting in three to four weeks after the bears have all been fed enough garbage, and everyone calms the hell down.
Photo by Anbeast25 used under Creative Commons license