We were so saddened by the recent story of the black bear cub that was killed by Fish and Game.

For most of us, the wildlife that surrounds us is fundamental to our quality of life in the Wood River Valley. But, to support this very special part of the character of our valley, we have to make it possible for wildlife to thrive.

This bear cub was separated from its mother—a problem. But the fact that it was so close to town indicates that its mother likely was, too. Yosemite National Park has made huge strides in keeping bears away from people with bear boxes and canisters for backpackers. Backpackers now rarely have even a sighting of a bear. We can do our part here by keeping our trash in containers that are secure and out of reach—a simple act that will make a big difference for our bears and other wildlife.

We also can insist that our public agencies kill wildlife only as an absolute last resort. I was dismayed that Black Bear Rehab, who will take cubs in for the winter and prepare them for later release, wasn’t contacted to explore this option. This isn’t the right ethic for our community.

With a little care, we can support and enjoy abundant and diverse wildlife. Just knowing they are there makes us happy. Let’s help them thrive and avoid conflict situations—and engage our local authorities to make this a priority.

Rebecca Patton and Tom Goodrich, Hailey

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