|Screen capture of CBC story image on MSNBC story|
We teach our children not to feed wild animals. What message does it send in an age when travellers want to make a difference in their choice of activities during their holidays. What questions do travellers ask themselves? How does this practice benefit the local community? Presumably, this brings revenue for a local entrepreneur and perhaps for those who provide them food and accommodation services for the duration of their stay.
The practice benefits the community economically, but only marginally at a social level. From a fairly universally agreed upon principle expressing the need to keep wild animals wild because wild animals fear humans -- and animals who are used to humans don't -- this practice sends the wrong message.
Lastly, from an environmental perspective, the practice also sends the wrong message because it ultimately puts the bear's lives at risk. A bear who is used to humans will learn to come to them first in times of need.
People in different places think of bear differently. Some think of them as scavengers who visit the dump to feed and destroy crops in the fall to do the same. It's is true. They can be pests to some, and seem like pets to others. I prefer viewing bear in the wild. I believe that's when they look their best. From a tourism branding perspective, it is also a more attractive product.