Not too long ago, on Aug. 29 a defendant was convicted of a crime. But not only did she not commit the crime, she had no previous charges against her, and she could not speak to tell her side of the story. Her name was Grace, the Iris park bear. On the sunny day of Aug. 29, Grace was minding her own business, rummaging for food around the park. At this time of year, bears are storing up for the winter and with so little natural habitat left, they have to come down to Boulder for food.
After a week in Iris, the residents only had praise for the Grace. She never bothered anyone, was harmless and lovely. but the CPW received a call earlier before they knew how wonderful she was. The CPW said they had too many bears coming around Boulder and as long as she wasn’t hurting anything she could stay where she was.
A week later a CPW officer came. He came alone, took stock of the situation and immediately took action. He took out a tranquilizer dart, enough to put a bear into a very deep sleep. He aimed and fired and Grace was hit. Now naturally this can scare a bear, because they don’t know what is going on. She looked in the direction of the firearm, scaring the CPW into thinking she was going to attack. He shot another tranquilizer and the overdose killed our friendly neighborhood bear. One man took it upon himself to be the judge, jury and prosecutor and cost Grace her life.
Bears and humans can live in harmony, if we take the right precautions. Here are a few things we can do to live side by side without harming each other. Take down bird feeders at night, use only bear proof trash cans, or leave them inside. Don’t leave trash out in the open and give them their space, especially a mother with cubs. With these simple steps, we can live together, while not disturbing each other’s daily life, and getting through a cleaner, safer tomorrow.
Darrow Klein is 12 years old and lives in Boulder