The continued outcry over the province’s handling of a cute orphaned bear cub is becoming a bit too much to bear ... so to speak.
Makoon was one of two bear cubs that were released earlier this year by the province — this despite opposition from groups such as the Humane Society, First Nations groups and other animal rights organizations, who said the animals were too young to be freed.
Manitoba, like other provinces, assesses all its orphaned cubs and those deemed unfit for the wild may either be euthanized or relocated to zoos if there is space.
The province has refused to specify where the two bears were released, though we note that Jim Duncan with Manitoba Conservation said the animals were given a second chance at being wild, what he called a “successful outcome from a wildlife rehabilitation point of view.”
While we can understand why some wide-eyed do-gooders would like to cast the Manitoba Conservation and staffers as villains in this story, it’s an unfair tag. Provincial biologists have merely done what other Canadian and American biologists would and should have done — put the cubs back into the wild.
So when Opposition party members begin slamming the government over what they should know has been a well-managed animal release, their motives need to be seriously called into question.
Exhibit A in this case is the letter by Emerson Progressive Conservative MLA Cliff Graydon that is in today’s letters section.
Graydon, who represents the constituent who found Makoon in the first place near St. Malo, says there are serious questions being raised about the province’s wildlife management.
Honestly, we have far less concern over the actions of responsible wildlife officials who have done their level best to rehabilitate the cubs following some questionable human interference than we do the motives of a leaderless political party.
All he’s doing is preaching to a misguided choir.
For example, just last week the Humane Society of Canada and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs were demanding that Manitoba Conservation recapture the two cubs, and also — like Graydon — demanding pictures of the bears’ releases back into the wild. Is Graydon also suggesting that the government waste time and resources trying to recapture them? And to what end?
If indeed “the world is watching” as Graydon says, it would seem a perfect opportunity to embarrass the ruling party for political gain, at the expense of a handful of civil servants who — in this case — were doing their jobs. While we have many beefs with Premier Greg Selinger’s government, the Tories are needlessly playing politics with this one.
Let’s put this into context a bit. Here are a couple of stories that have grabbed the headlines over the last few weeks.
• There are dozens of unsolved cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women in this province. Following the June arrest of one man connected to the deaths of at least two aboriginal women and the disappearance of a third, the public is beginning to fear that there may be other serial killers on the loose.
• Parts of the Assiniboine Valley are drowning in floodwaters after the province screwed up by closing the Shellmouth Dam in anticipation of drought conditions. As the Sun reported yesterday, at least 400,000 acres will be affected.
And the provincial Tories have nothing better to do than question the competence of provincial officials over a pair of bear cubs that were released weeks ago?
Come on folks, you can do better than that.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 6, 2012