I’m crossing my fingers that officials in Alaska have read the National Outdoor Leadership School’s mission and values statements. I’d like nothing more than to learn that a brown bear cub isn’t about to become an orphan just because his mother protected him from a handful of teenagers on Saturday. What makes me nervous is that “Alaska Wildlife Troopers and state Department of Fish and Game biologists are discussing what to do about the bear, which troopers were still looking for Sunday afternoon,” according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Here’s what I think officials should do: Leave the fucking bear alone!
The teenagers who suffered injuries after crossing paths with the bear and her cub were, according to the Anchorage Daily News report, “deep in the wilderness” of Alaska. They were not at a shopping mall in Paramus, New Jersey.
The Anchorage Daily News report tells us: “The hikers were all between 16 and 18 years old, and were participating in a National Outdoor Leadership School course.”
From a press release issued on Sunday by the National Outdoor Leadership School: “On Saturday evening, July 23, 2011 a group of seven NOLS students hiking without instructors was attacked by a bear. Four students have been injured in the attack. The student group is part of the NOLS Alaska Backpacking Course that started on June 30, 2011 with 14 students and three instructors.”
The Alaska State Troopers also issued a press release on Sunday. In it we’re told: “A Trooper is currently flying the area in an attempt to locate the bear and the remaining group in the field.”
Why “attempt to locate the bear”? I sure hope it’s not because officials in Alaska have already decided “what to do about the bear.”
I don’t hear folks from the National Outdoor Leadership School asking for the bear to be made an example of. In fact, the folks at the National Outdoor Leadership School, according to the organization’s mission and values, “define wilderness as a place where nature is dominant and situations and their consequences are real.” They “accept risk as an integral part of the learning process and of the environments through which we travel.”
Note to officials in Alaska: Before you hurt yourselves trying to figure out “what to do about the bear,” stop thinking and do absolutely nothing.