A thirsty Black Bear.

Photo By Jim Robertson

Recently, Amherst residents were horrified when police shot and killed a harmless black bear that had been hit by a car, but still walked around, not bothering a soul. The police and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have been widely criticized for this needless, cruel shooting. The community created a memorial for him at the site he was slaughtered; one resident poignantly reflected, “We had begun to consider the bear a neighbor.”

Wildlife can manage and adapt on three legs, and bears can be tranquilized and treated or brought to sanctuaries; grievously, there was a wildlife sanctuary nearby.

It is time we learn to coexist with our wildlife, who have every right to live here peacefully as we do, if not more so. Inflammatory articles raise fear and loathing, such as The Journal News/’s that states: “The black bear population is on the rise. An estimated 3,000 roam the Southeastern portion of New York.”

While we kill bear merely for sport, they are rarely harmful to us. While the media hysterically points to black bear numbers, not one word is ever said about the influx of humans wanting roads, cars, housing and food spreading into habitats, wetlands, soiling the water and air, clear-cutting acres of trees daily, which developers are more than happy to do.

Wildlife contributes to ecology — even tiny chipmunks are seed dispersers. Communities need to have a clear plan to both teach residents how to live peacefully with wildlife, and a coordinated effort with the DEC and local police to humanely transport animals only when absolutely necessary.

The DEC has been very negligent thus far, despite having taxpayer-funded equipment, resources and humane contacts. Westchester has been pretty good in these situations, though shamefully still allowing hunting in our public parks.
Articles warning of “thousands” of bears will harm animals. You wouldn’t do it to people — don’t do it to those who have no voice.

Kiley Blackman is founder of Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561