A little over two weeks’ ago, a mother bear killed a cocker spaniel in a town adjacent to mine. The dog belonged to one of two landscapers who was working on the property at the time. The bear was well-known to at least some residents in the area and had been in a YouTube video.
The story, as it was reported in our local newspaper, the Hartford Courant, said that the bear had been protecting her cubs which were up in a tree. After the attack, the bear and her cubs were tranquilized and relocated to a more rural setting.
All of this leads me to some Monday morning quarterbacking, of course. I won’t post the link to the YouTube video, but it had been emailed to me in a neighboring town and I was copied on the email with lots of other folks. The video was 13 minutes long. In it, the videographer–who very wisely watched from indoors as the 2 bear cubs are in a tree–remarks over and over about how cute the babies were, and then finally, when the Mama bear lumbered back into the yard, about how Mama had come back for her babies.
So folks might have had reason to know about this bear’s habits (although not, I’m guessing, paid working gardeners, who have their hands full in the spring and don’t have a lot of time for YouTube videos).
In any event, my reaction to this very sad story about the bear killing the dog was that perhaps the dog had saved the women–who it appeared were still oblivious to the bear’s presence until they heard the dog’s cry. If, somehow, the women had been perceived as a threat by the bear, they–or one of them–could just as easily have fallen victim to her wrath. And that would have been a really awful story to be writing about.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen much in the “civilized” East. I know it happens more often out west where there are more people out on the fringes of human/wildlife interaction.
But we now have a bear–with cubs–labeled as a killer. She may have to be killed herself. And we now have a bear that is a known killer–true, in defense of her cubs.
But perhaps if folks had done the right thing early on, and reported a bear with cubs wandering in heavily residential neighborhoods, instead of taking videos and posting them on YouTube, this interaction need not have taken place at all. Easy to say, of course, and perhaps wishful thinking. Then again, let’s just be grateful the only casualty was the dog.