Monday, July 5, 2010
Up to Our Elbows in Bears
By Alan Caruba
You know there’s a problem when The Wall Street Journal devotes an article to the fact that there are too many bears in New Jersey. That’s what it did over the July 4th weekend, noting that there have been “1,250 sightings” thus far this year.
Some of those sightings were up close and personal with one of the estimated 5,000 bears in the Garden State. In a scene from “The Sopranos”, Tony is in the backyard of his home when he spots a black bear ambling by. Fortunately for Tony, he had an arsenal in the house to deal with the intruder.
People in the northwestern part of the State, near the Pennsylvania and New York borders are accustomed to seeing bears, but this year they have been spotted in all twenty-one counties, right on down the Delaware border. That only means one thing; the competition for food among the increased bear population is forcing them to wander far and wide.
In Kinnelon a couple discovered a mother and two cubs living under their porch this past April and, in May, police tried shooing away a bear that had entered a house for food. When it returned a few minutes later, they shot it. In Hopewell Township a bear was seen walking along, appropriately, Bear Tavern Road.
Typically, in New Jersey where everything is considered worthy of regulation, when it comes to wildlife, there’s a Fish and Game Council and there’s also the Department of Environmental Protection. The Fish and Game folks understandably think that a bear hunt every so often is a good idea.
Here’s where it gets interesting. In 2006 a bear hunt had been scheduled to address the growing bear population and the rise in reported sightings and incidents. It was cancelled by the then-DEP commissioner, Lisa Jackson. If the name sounds familiar, it is because she has since been tapped by Barack Obama to be the present administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A bear hunt in 2005 had bagged just short of three hundred bears. It was—are you ready for this—only the second hunt in 35 years! Two years later in 2007, 328 bears had been killed by hunters after there had been 1,407 sightings. In 2005, biologists had estimated there were about 3,200 bears. Five years later, that estimate had increased by two thousand!
In 2009, the number of sightings had jumped 41.5% from 2005 with time-out in 2006-10 to breed a whole lot more bears courtesy of Lisa Jackson.
The 2003 and 2005 hunts were accompanied with protests by people who likely have never seen a bear unless it was in a zoo or on television.
The Jersey bears even have their own advocacy group, the Bear Education and Resource Group. “They’re trying to dupe the public into believing that the bears are dangerous and at fault,” said Janet Piszar, its director.
The head of the state Sierra Club chapter, Jiff Tittel, blamed the bear problem, not on bear fecundity but on trash. “Hunt or no hunt, we will never resolve bear programs until we deal with trash.”
Tell that to the folks who spotted three bears wandering in Wayne in May not far from the campus of William Patterson University and St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital.
By 2010, the bears have not only increased their population and spread to every county in the State, but the Fish and Game Council was gearing up to initiate a six-day hunt in December.
One reason New Jersey has a new Governor is that the previous one, Jon Corzine, was insistent that non-lethal methods be used to deal with the bears, i.e., no hunts. By contrast, Gov. Chris Christie, has vowed to end Corzine’s ban on bear hunts.
The lesson one can draw from this is that, left to the environmentalists like Lisa Jackson, Jon Corzine, Jeff Tittel, and the loonies that don’t see any real threat to the human, taxpaying residents of New Jersey, there would be no bear hunts.
Whenever and wherever Greens and the “animal rights” groups get involved, humans and their expectation to be protected from bears anywhere and everywhere in New Jersey comes in a poor second to the bear population.
© Alan Caruba, 2010