Letters to the Editor

Bear shooting attributed to loss of habitat

Editor: I just finished reading the story about the bear cub being killed (The Times, Aug. 18), because it was presumably looking for food in a Langley neighbourhood. I cannot begin to express how disgusted and ashamed I feel at how this was handled. This poor animal’s habitat has been increasingly getting smaller, its food sources have been dwindling and because it wants to survive, which is the most primal of instincts, this helpless cub ends up dead.

Many natural communities throughout the province are threatened by a combination of burgeoning population growth and sprawling urban and rural developments. As large tracts of land are devoured by haphazardly planned housing developments, strip malls, and highways, habitats become fragmented into smaller and smaller pieces until they can no longer support many species of native wildlife.

With no province-wide conservation initiative, no land use planning, and a projected surge in population growth, it is likely that a high rate of open space lost to development will continue well into the future.

The fragmentation of habitat that results from unplanned development is also a major impediment to wildlife movement. Movement across the landscape is necessary for wildlife to find food and water, and to reproduce. Many species become isolated in smaller and smaller areas when they try to avoid roads and human contact. Isolated species are then more vulnerable to extinction from any additional habitat disturbances.

All these factors together result in an overall decrease in species diversity. As sprawling developments devour open space and fragment the landscape, the diversity of life, in both plants and animals, will continue to decrease.

But important wildlife habitats are not only threatened by poorly-planned developments radiating from urban areas. Poorly-planned development in rural areas also harms the natural communities, ironically because people are seeking exactly what they are destroying. The appeal of living in the country away from the stresses and noise of city life if fueling this growth trend.

Every life is precious whether it’s human or not. Everything wants to survive. This could have, and should have been handled differently.

Andrew Warn,

Chilliwack

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