R. Hesslein: Treat bears with respect

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Trust Maine’s wildlife biologists? That’s about like saying trust all the politicians. And that is what is going on here with state officials taking a political position rather than a position based on actual biology of Maine bears.

There is nothing in the biology of wild Maine bears that would suggest it is healthy to dump millions of calories of junk and other food in the woods for nearly two months at the critical time when bears must forage heavily on their natural diets to prepare for winter denning, and to teach their yearling cubs to do the same.

Bears must increase their body weight 30 percent to survive winter and 50 percent for a sow to successfully give birth, nurse and feed her new cubs through spring. No intelligent biologist promoting the reduction of the bear population should suggest that it is wise to supplement, feed and condition bears to an unhealthy, unnatural diet that artificially boosts their caloric intake at the critical time those calories could increase bear reproduction in the den.

And there is no intelligence in habituating bears to an unnatural diet to diminish nuisance animals and complaints.

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It is unethical to subject dogs and bears to the violence and stress of exhaustive chase and possible confrontation, nor is it ethical to trap bears, subjecting them to hours of pain, just for sport.

It is time for Maine to take the higher road and treat bears and other beings with the respect they deserve.

Richard Hesslein Jr., Greenwood

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