The bear comes up albino (inability to make pigament), because of a recessive genetic defect, then you have people running around calling it "spirit bear".
The only difference between this black bear and another black bear is a couple base pairs differences in its DNA sequence... ooooh, can't let the bad hunter shoot spirit bear.
What do you people think? I agree that the bear is rare (albinos are rare), I just don't understand why it would be "bad" for a hunter to tag the bear, when it is practically the same as any other black bear.
As a long time Alaskan and hunter, I don't have problem with special conservation measures taken for rare game animals. No one has claimed it is "bad" to hunt this particular anmimal sighted near Juneau. The measure taken to protect it was not one of being "anti-hunter" as you suggest. I don't think most conservation minded sportsman have a problem with special protections in this instance. The non-hunting public agrees that this animal has more value alive than hanging in one's personal trophy room.
[ This Message was edited by: longbow on 2002-11-23 06:16 ]
From the perspective of a few months, I see that my original post was a bit more sarcastic than I intended. However, I don't think this has anything to do with conservation, because the white bear is not a seperate species.
The bear in question (spirit bear) is an ordinary black bear with its only distinction being that it has a glacial color phase, in this case its "glacial" coloration is white. I would guess this is due to a relatively rare genetic anamoly called albinoism (the inability to make pigment) that occurs in nearly all mammals to some degree. The nearly mythical "white stag" is an albino buck.
By banning hunting on "glacial phase" bears the Game and Fish Department is in essence saying the public's love of a rare colored bear is more important than the fact that it is still a black bear and subject to the same hunting rules as any other black bear.
Consider another situation, trophy class bulls and bucks are also rare by any standard. Their rarity may be in part because of genetics and also because of pure luck, but they are still rare. So if the public falls in love with massive bulls and bucks, should local dnr's and dow's also ban hunting of them? This is an extreme situation, but I use the analogy to highlight that rarity and "public love" is the only metric being used by the Game and Parks to decide whether or not the bear should be hunted.
As for being "anti-hunter" or "bad". The ban was put in place because it was felt that it would be a bad outcome if a hunter took the bear. This implies that people feel it would have been a waste if a hunter took the bear.
On 2002-08-31 18:15, moderator wrote:
Full Story:my name is Barry Brokken. If you are reading this, my name should be familiar to you, as I was the one who submitted the petition to the Alaska board of game asking to over-turn the protective order of the white-colored black bear. I live here in Juneau, Ak., and am indeed an avid bear hunter.
The protection of this one particular animal, and the issues pertaining to it is not so much about "saving" this single individual animal, as it is about setting a disturbing precident for all wildlife harvests.
This trend began here in Alaska three years ago with the sighting of an albino moose outside of Fairbanks, resulting in total protection of white moose in that area. In fact, this was used as precident in passing the white bear ruling.
The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game has stated it's position on managment of species by population, and not by individual animals.
Who decides, at that point, what special attributes constitute total protection?
Can you imagine what a weapon this could be in the "Anti's" arsenal. I'm certainly not criing wolf here.
Virtually all comments received by the Board of Game in favor of total protection based thier desire on emotional reverence for this animal, even though it has actually been viewed by a handfull of people.
I'm not minimizing this bear's potential importance to this community (just wait until the new tourist brochures come out
My biggest concern is that through micro-managment, down to individual animals, and certain colors of the same species, we are leaving ourselves open to all manner of objection to the harvest of a healthy population of animals that, other than someones interpretation of "special", can easily provide a sustainable harvest.
The fact is, this is a black bear. Period.
What if someone were to take a photo of, say, a pink coyote? Should we provide total protection for all pink coyotes? This sounds rediculous, but so did the idea of a white colored black bear in Juneau, until last year.
href="http://www.startribune.com/stories/1551/3188441.html" target="new">White Black Bear Hunting Banned
Please use this area to post comments or questions about this news item.
Well said Barry, very well said. I had not heard of you and I was not aware of a petition to repeal the ban. However a little searching on the web turned up this article, so it sounds like you are the real McCoy.
What did the DFG think of the petition and your statement? Is there any questioning of the precedence of the ban or did you just get waved off?
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