• 36°

Editorial: Let bears run their course

According to Cherokee legend, bears are the keepers of dreams. Rowan residents who spotted a big black bear wandering around their neighborhood earlier this week would no doubt find that fitting. Some must have thought they were dreaming when they spied the burly creature lumbering across the yard or climbing a tree.
Bear sightings are relatively rare in our area. Previous to this week’s, the last widely reported visit occurred four years ago, and as many will recall, it ended sadly when a Thomasville police officer killed “Boo-Boo,” as the bear had been dubbed. But if bear population trends continue, it’s a phenomenon we might as well get used to while familiarizing ourselves with the basic ground rules for bear-human interactions, such as keeping a respectful distance and not offering any easy meals.
The revival of black bear populations is one of the state’s natural success stories, according to wildlife experts. In the country’s early days, black bears roamed across the area that would become North Carolina. With settlement of the state’s interior, however, bear populations declined. By the early 1900s, black bears were found only in the mountains and coastal swamps. A blight that decimated chestnut trees also wiped out a prime item on the bear buffet. Thanks to the designation of bear sanctuaries and more rigorous control of bear hunting, however, the numbers stabilized and expanded. Today, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission estimates the state has approximately 11,000 bears — and counting. While they’re still concentrated in the mountains and coastal refuges, increased bear populations and increased development have resulted in more bears venturing into the midlands and even the middle of towns and cities.
Inevitably, our first reaction to a bear in the backyard is to think someone should do something about it. But wildlife officials say the best course is to let nature run its course and let the bear depart on its own. The N.C. Wildlife Commission website lists several reasons why wildlife officers don’t routinely tranquilize and trap nomadic, or “nuisance,” bears. Typically, wandering bears aren’t a threat to humans, and the number of such sightings makes it unrealistic to drug and haul the animals away (a dangerous process in itself). Besides, the website states, “we have no remote places left to relocate bears where they will not come into contact with humans.”
Such encounters are only likely to increase, even here in the caveless Piedmont. Best learn to bear with it.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds