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Campers' Carelessness Dooms Bears

August 15, 1993

* Careless food storage and disposal spells death for bears. These intelligent animals learn quickly ("Boy Fights Bear, Loves to Tell Tale" Aug. 8). When a bear repeatedly obtains human food and garbage, it becomes destructive and dangerous, and sadly has to be destroyed. The camps where the bear attacks took place have sloppy food practices and should receive a hefty fine.

But more important, the camps have a moral responsibility to educate the boys to respect the wilderness. We enter the bears' territory and our carelessness and stupidity destroys them in their own homes.

DONNA SPRECHT

Huntington Beach

* Having had a close-up and personal encounter with a large black bear while hiking in the Sequoias just three days before the first recent attack in Big Bear, I can only emphasize the need for precautionary measures in food storage and cleanliness.

It is natural for a bear to seek out an easy food source. We humans have a well-founded love and rightful fear of these magnificent animals. Too many well-but-misplaced-intentioned people go off into the woods like they're entering Disneyland. Bears, although shy and retiring, are wild animals.

An attack upon a human necessitates that a bear be killed. But, if bears and other wild animals are to be spared being hunted to extinction, a healthy dose of public education, camping etiquette and respect for the fact that we share the wilderness with other creatures is what is needed.

LISA MURPHY

Placentia

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