Bear Kinship

Bear Spirit

Bear Discussion

Successful Bear Advocacy Through Positive Educational Outreach
From Steve Stringham - 2 Mar 2008

Dear All, There is no easy way to deal with the issues of hunting bears, much less milking them for bile. Our best hope on the bile trade is substituting some kind of manufactured bile. But, so far, the market has not endorsed any substitutes for the "real" thing, as though the terrible suffering of the "milked" and slaughtered bears somehow makes bile more potent. Until a better option opens up, we keep trying the substitute angle, while continuing to shut down bile farms.

As to sport hunting: as much as we might like to hit the issue head on, it would only give us brain concussions. The brick wall would still be standing. The most effective strategy I know is the one Charley Russel, Lynn Rogers, Sue Mansfield, and a handful of other people have taken: getting to know bears as individuals, coming to really understand these fellow beings, and sharing our insights with the public by videos, writings, photos, and live viewing. I have shown bears at Katmai and other locations to numerous hunters. Most arrived drooling over the giant boars, wishing they could bag one. Yet, few left feeling anything but awe and appreciation for the bears, saying how they had totally misunderstood the nature of these "animals."

The sooner we can credibly shift public perception of bears from monsters to fellow beings, the sooner public attitudes will start breaking down the brick edifices that support trophy hunting of bruins.

Also essential is starting protective measures with those bear populations and individuals that are quite friendly to people, before trying to extend the battlelines to more isolated bears that are far less tolerant of people, or to situations where bear-human encounters are extremely dangerous.

Steve Stringham

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