4 Feb 2009, 12:09pm
Bears Homo sapiens
by admin

Waging War with Wildlife

What responsibilities do government wildlife managers have to the general public? The question arises in regards to the 2007 case of Sam Ives, an 11-year-old boy killed in a bear attack.

The Ives family went camping in June 2007 at the US Forest Service’s Timpooneke Campground on the Unita NF in Utah. Unbeknownst to them, a rogue bear was in the area.

Boy Killed by Bear in American Fork Canyon

Sam Penrod, KSL.com, June 18th, 2007 [here]

It was a horrifying end to a family’s camping trip in American Fork Canyon when a bear dragged a sleeping child from a tent and mauled him to death. It’s the first fatal attack in Utah’s history.

Authorities still have not released the identity of the victim. But Tuesday morning, the Deseret Morning News will report the young boy who was killed while sleeping in the tent is 11-year-old Samuel Ives from Pleasant Grove.

The Division of Wildlife Resources confirmed that the bear that was shot and killed earlier today is the bear that attacked the young boy late last night. …

Initially there were fears the 11-year-old had been abducted by a human. His stepfather heard his screams but couldn’t see the boy. It seems the bear clawed right through the multi-room tent and dragged the boy out in his sleeping bag. Sadly, his body was found two hours later about 300 yards away. …

While the family was unaware that an aggressive bear was in the area, employees of the USFS and the Utah Division of Wildlife Services did know, because they had been searching for the bear earlier that day. The bear had been been prowling the campground, had been reported, and officials were cognizant that it was dangerously human-habituated. They made a futile attempt to locate the bear.

But rather than warning campers of the situation, the wildlife managers gave up their search and drove off without informing the public or so much as putting up a warning sign.

Attorney: Bear still posed a danger

Boy, 11, killed — Family argues wildlife agents should have cordoned off spot of earlier animal attack.

By Donald W. Meyers, The Salt Lake Tribune, 01/14/2009 [here]

PROVO. Fourth District Judge Gary Stott said Tuesday he would quickly decide if the state is not liable for a 2007 bear attack that killed an 11-year-old Pleasant Grove boy.

Stott said he will issue a written opinion after reviewing arguments from the state and the family of Sam Ives on whether to drop the family’s suit against the Division of Wildlife Services.

Sam’s mother, Rebecca Ives; her husband, Tim Mulvey; and Kevan Francis, Sam’s natural father, are suing the federal government and the state for the attack. Sam was asleep in the tent with his mother, stepfather and half brother on June 17, 2007, when the bear pulled him out of the tent and killed him.

They seek $2 million from the Forest Service and $550,000 from the state.

The family argued the state had a duty to stop people from using the campground until the black bear that had ravaged the same site earlier that day had been destroyed.

Allen K. Young, the family’s attorney, said state wildlife agents knew the bear was in the area, but cut short a search and did nothing to warn anyone of the possible danger — nor stop the Ives from using the campground.

“The facts in this case show that state and federal agents waved at the Ives family as they drove past to camp [on the site of the bear attack],” Young said. …

The facts are that the wildlife managers knew the bear was in the area, knew the bear was aggressive, and knew that campers were potentially in danger, but did nothing to protect public safety. They waved as they drove away. And tragedy struck.

But Assistant Attorney General Reed Stringham said the state’s immunity statute shields the state and its employees from liability. That statute applies because cordoning off the area required some deliberation. Stringham said the state would have needed to decide how large an area to close off because of the bear — something that can’t be done on the fly.

Stringham’s defense is tenuous and bureaucratic. Common sense (and common law) requires that anybody, not just government employees, who knows about public threats has a duty to inform the public about them. That common sense burden is greater on public employees who are engaged in dealing with the threat.

Traffic police who respond to a traffic accident realize that one of their first duties is to warn oncoming motorists. Fire managers make it their primary mission to warn people in harms way and evacuate the public at risk before the fire overruns them. Do not wildlife managers share the same responsibilities?

These questions are discussed at Wolf Crossing [here].

These managers could have done somethings but did nothing. The lives of our children and families are not important to these people. We have found out that with the wolf program our children are expendable. Now our children have to carry guns to walk outside their homes including being in their backyards. We have had children stalked by 3 wolves returning home from school. Have you been warned about the danger of camping even in a campground in your tax dollar funded national forest?

In October 2007 a 450 pound male black bear opened a sliding glass door to a condo in Aspen, entered the condo, and attacked the occupant, a woman, who sustained serious injuries [here]. The attack came at 1:30 a.m. The bear was killed by state and federal wildlife officers the next day. The hunters were aided by the radio transmitter on the bear’s collar.

It was a collared bear! Someone had put a radio transmitter on a bear and then failed to track it, or did track it but failed to warn the public that their bear was in town. Had the attack come from a pit bull, the pit bull’s owner would have gone to jail, no doubt. But because the animal was “wild,” the wildlifers who had collared it felt no responsibility for the bear’s actions.

If our public employees feel no responsibility for the health and safety of the public who pays their salaries, is not the public justified in discarding those employees? Do we really need to pay for public servants who do not serve us, who feel no duty to protect public health and safety?

Incompetence is one thing, but disrespect for the well-being of the public, to the point of vicious attacks and fatalities, is more than can be tolerated. In neither of these cases were the offending public employees named in the Media. They have been given immunity for prosecution and immunity from any public scrutiny at all.

We are not supposed to know the identities of the public employees who abrogate common sense concerns for the public. We must protect the employees at the risk of our own safety.

I have said it before and will say it again: there is a war going on. The government is waging war against rural residents and citizens. The government seeks to usurp our property, livelihoods, rights, and freedoms, and if they have to kill us to get those, they will.



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