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LETTER: People lack animal awareness, leading to human/bear conflicts

Bears usually the ones that lose out when people don’t take precautions
There have been an increasing number of human-bear conflicts in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. These bears were spotted by a local photographer earlier this year. (Ross Davies/Special to The News)

Dear Editor,

As someone who was born and raised among animals, I have observed time and again that people who are quite unfamiliar with animal behaviour are simply not equipped to read the “mood” of an animal.

Just like humans, bears will display body postures and behaviors that can tell you a lot about the mood of the animal.

The number 1 thing in any bear encounter is to stay calm. I say this because for people who have no experience of “reading” the behaviour of the animal, to often the first emotion the person will embrace is fear. The animal will sense this, and the situation will quickly escalate.

It is an ongoing dilemma, and it’s tragic that so many of these awe inspiring animals are euthanized every year.

As in policing, maybe de escalation should be the mantra of the day.

Hamish Wheatley, Maple Ridge


• READ MORE: Man going for a skinny dip encounters black bear

• READ MORE: Our view: bears need protection from us


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