BASS: Concern over Clover cute, but does not replace cold reality

Lucky Clover — he’s white.

If he was a black bear, he’d be dead already.

But, being white — well, let’s deal with facts here, he’s really sort of a cream colour — gives Clover special status in B.C.

As a Kermode bear, he’s also considered a Spirit bear, so special that extraordinary measures have been taken to ensure Clover lives.

Lifeforce, an ecology organization, has an online petition to free Clover. It’s a fascinating document to read, rife with inaccuracies and rhetoric designed to promote its own viewpoint.

Take, for instance, this paragraph: “Just look at the horrible Kamloops jail. Zoo wardens said this bear is priceless. No doubt they are dreaming of making big money with lots of government funding to try to revive this road side zoo.”

The B.C. Wildlife Park can hardly be called a jail or a zoo. The animals have massive space to roam and Clover is having his own space built.

Until then, he has an area 400 feet by 400 feet — no, not the massive tundra of the north, but hardly a jail cell.

The site continues: “If they keep this bear hostage, they will get government funds to build a new tourism attraction and to conduct unnecessary experiments.”

‘Nuff said on that, unless laughter at the idea of experiments at the park is considered a comment.

Clover was captured twice, once after his mom was killed.

Lifeforce founder Peter Hamilton is upset about Clover’s move to Kamloops, writing a very public letter to Premier Christy Clark, demanding the bear be freed.

Hamilton has declared captivity of animals psychologically and socially damaging to them.

I’m sure Hamilton believes that to be true — heck, someone called me a week or so ago to complain about the horrible captivity Clover is now enduring and asking I write a column demanding the bear be released.

According to a 2006 posting online at animaladvocates.com, marking the 25th anniversary of the Lifeforce Foundation, Hamilton, a former artist and musician, created Lifeforce because he felt more public awareness was needed of “the interrelationship of human, animal and environmental problems . . . in order to save [the] planet.”

Caring alone, however, does not make one an expert.

Lifeforce supporters have also said Clover was released, in another attempt to rehabilitate him to the wild, within miles of a populated camp.

The reality is the opposite.

The Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter that was dealing with the cub  put a tracking collar on him and let him go in an area it believed had no people in it.

The shelter staff didn’t know an archeological dig would start up in the area and Clover would stumble upon it.

What it did know is that, for three months, Clover didn’t try to get close to humans and then, on Oct. 13, he lost his tracking collar in an area that housed the dig staff.

Within a week, he was hanging around that area and, because of his genetic fluke that gives him special status, he was captured and the decision made to find him a home.

Conservation officers have said to release Clover into the wild again is to sign his death warrant.

The rehabilitation experts at Norther Lights have said Clover will continue to seek out humans, as he managed to do after being left in a wide space of barren wilderness, able to find that one camp of humans and their food and garbage.

I tend to believe them more than well-intentioned and well-meaning people who long for that perfect world where bears never run into humans — and vice versa — and we all live in happiness and harmony.

Too bad that’s not reality.

Dale Bass is a reporter with Kamloops This Week. Her email address is here. Her blog can be found here.



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