A wildlife expert believes that a recent bear attack in Washington state was a result of “woke” politics that are leading to overpopulation problems.
The attack took place on Oct. 22 near Leavenworth. The local sheriff’s office said that a 68-year-old woman was walking her dog when the animal charged. The woman fought for roughly 15 seconds before the bear ran away. She survived but suffered “significant injuries.”
Officials located the bear that same morning with two cubs. The adult was euthanized and the cubs were captured.
Tom Nelson, the host of The Outdoor Line on ESPN Radio, believes that the bear attack was avoidable, but “public safety is no longer a priority in Olympia, it seems.”
As Nelson told KIRO on Monday, “touchy-feely, nonsensical woke wildlife management” is “putting the public at risk” because lawmakers are “making political decisions about biological situations for political considerations.”
Most notably, state officials restricted the spring bear hunting season. And, they also passed laws that make it harder to hunt. For example, people are no longer allowed to use dogs while tracking bears.
“Before, you had hunters that loved their dogs. It’s amazingly difficult to hunt [bears] without the help of our four-footed friends,” he continued.
The Bear Attack was a ‘Complete Tragedy’
Because of the new rules, the local bear population has been growing larger, and now there are too many bears and too little food. To make matters worse, the animals are eating even more right now as they prepare for hibernation. And Nelson said that the bear that attacked the woman would have never wandered into a residential area if it weren’t desperate for food.
Nelson explained that the aggressor was already in a heightened state because its “feeding drive” was at a “premium.” And the victim unintentionally got between it and its cubs, which “provoked the protection response.”
“This is a complete tragedy on both sides,” he added. “Nobody wins.”
A spokesperson with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife said that despite new laws, attacks are still rare “as black bears tend to avoid humans.” The spokesperson also noted that with more education, coexisting with bears would become even more harmonious.
The spokesperson also added that WDFW acted quickly and appropriately while dealing with last week’s emergency.
“Public safety is our priority; our officers and staff were quick to mobilize to locate the animal in this incident and secure the scene as we have a responsibility to our communities, it’s an unfortunate circumstance and never the outcome we want,” the spokesperson said.