Acadieville — New Brunswick’s tourism department has been promoting a business that allows visitors to the Kent Country area to feed and commune with wild black bears.
Some government employees swear that Little, Big Bear Safari is putting people in danger of being mauled to death, while others say it’s harmless fun. What everyone can agree upon, however, is that we simply cannot look away.
“This is just like with that Crocodile Hunter guy, Steve Irwin,” said Acadieville resident Bernard Comeau. “He must’ve had a death wish. And just like now with the bears, we all knew what would happen, but no one did anything to stop him — we all just placed bets on how soon he’d be eaten.”
Another Acadieville local, Myrna McNeil, said she is completely opposed to allowing humans to interact with wild animals in this way. “Bears get used to you, and they start to associate humans with food. So if there’s a person nearby, there’s a sort of Pavlovian response that triggers instant hunger that needs to be satisfied no matter what,” she explained.
“But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sort of excited to witness what happens… it’s not every day you get the thrill of seeing some unknown sucker get torn limb from limb. Most of us have to watch movies for that.”
According to Kelly Iverson, a spokesperson for the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, most of the interested tourists come from Europe.
“We get a bunch of Vladimir Putin-wannabes who try to ride the bears and inevitably get torn into a bloody mess like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant,” said Iverson. “People are getting pulverized, but more of them still keep coming back for more. I don’t get it, but it sure brings in the big tourism dollars.”
Department of Natural Resources officials have said that while it’s environmentally and morally irresponsible to knowingly allow clueless tourists to tempt fate, New Brunswickers should think twice about putting a stop to it.
“This sort of goes against my job description, but let’s be honest,” said DNR spokesperson Mark Henderson. “We need tourism dollars more than we need the tourists spending those dollars to escape the province in one piece. Let’s just sit back and see how this thing plays out.”