“When all the dangerous cliffs are fenced off, all the trees that might fall on people are cut down, all of the insects that bite have been poisoned – and all of the Grizzlies are dead because they are occasionally dangerous, the wilderness will not have been made safe. Rather, the safety will have destroyed the wilderness”. … R. Yorke Edwards – Canadian Environmentalist
This quote can apply equally to all bears. When the heart of the last bear ceases to beat – will man be satisfied? Who will the trophy hunters stalk next? Will the politicians say – well it didn’t happen on my watch? Will the Chinese traditional medicinal practitioners say – I guess bear bile substitutes will be fine after all? Will a zoo keeper somewhere say – what is going to happen when our last captive polar bear dies – how will the children understand nature? Will people ever be ashamed of their cruelty, neglect, greed and inaction? Perhaps the bear baiting men of Pakistan will fight one another in great gladiatorial spectacles and recall the days when they could still have made a difference.
It is time to demand change from global governments. Bears around the world are in distress. Experts seem, to vary in the named species of bears. It appears that there are 8 main species – some scientists and researchers say 10 and their sub-species – perhaps up to 30 varieties of bears. Most are in trouble. The figures below may not be completely accurate to 2013 but they paint a picture of animals clearly in distress and with the extinction of some species a reality.
The Giant Panda – Endangered – perhaps 700 to 1000 remain in the wild.
The Asian Sun Bear – Endangered.
The Asiatic Black Bear – Protected.
The Sloth Bear of India/Sri Lanka – Endangered – less than 10,000 remain.
The Spectacle Bear of Latin America – Endangered.
The Polar Bear – At Risk – it appears there are less than 20,000 remaining.
The Brown Bear – At Risk.
The Black Bear – At Risk.
The Moon Bear – Endangered.
The Spirit Bear – Endangered – less than 400 remain.
The Grizzly Bear – Threatened to Endangered.
The Kodiak Bear – (brown bear) – Seems to vary in articles from Least Concern to At Risk to Endangered depending on its global location.
Bear Issues and Cruelty:
1) Bear Baiting – Pakistan – a disgusting, inhumane blood sport.
2) Bear Bile Farms – it is believed that there are up to 12,000 bears who live in appalling conditions in China, Vietnam, Korea – Laos
3) Trophy Hunting – worldwide.
4) Unprecedented Bear Slaughter for their gall bladders, claws, teeth, hides and to produce bear paw soup.
5) Sloth Bears – forced to dance in India.
6) Unregulated road side zoos.
7) Zoos and The Circus – bears are often not properly housed and are often cruelly trained and neglected.
Many bears worldwide have lives of desperation, confinement, abuse and mind-numbing boredom This for an animal who is meant to feel the sunshine on his fur and the ground benaeth his feet.
As a society we revere the iconic plush toy – The Teddy Bear. It is always placed at memorials, given to new born babies and propped up as a decoration on sofas and beds. How sad and telling, that globally, real bears so often lack our protection and respect.