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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

Enviro-Mich folks:  

Here is a press release from DNR on a Bear Management Symposium 
-- I call it to your attention in part because it may be of 
interest, but also because one of the topics is one that makes my 
skin crawl -- the concept of "Social Carrying Capacity for 
Bears".  I have a lot of respect for Ben Peyton who is doing this 
presentation and don't mean to take anything away from the 
quality of his work.  

What I am focussing on, however, is that this concept has been 
out there for a long time in our DNR with regard to bears in  
particular.  "Social Carrying Capacity" showed up in the Pere 
Marquette State  Forest Plan in 1994 with this description (page 

"Black Bear - Bear populations should be maintained at a level 
where they are tolerated and appreciated by humans. This social 
carrying capacity is lower than the biological capacity of the 
land to support them.  Thus, different scare techniques, fencing, 
trap and translocation, and hunting are valuable management 
techniques to keep populations in check and to keep bear from 
losing their fear of humans."  

I know of no other creature for which this set of criteria are 
raised. Michiganders have invaded the home territories of bear in 
increasing numbers (and the symposium raises land use as well) 
with our garbage cans and dumps and bird feeders and other bear 
attractions, and when the bears react the way anyone should 
expect, the BEAR is the problem.  Yet we have somewhere around 
67,000 deer/car collisions every year in Michigan with deer 
causing more human fatalities than any other animal, we have deer 
eating farmers crops and spreading bovine TB, we have deer 
invading homes and wreaking havoc, and NOBODY talks about a 
"Social Carrying Capacity" for deer!  

For that matter, what about the "Social Carrying Capacity" for 
ORVs or jet skis -- most non-users of these vehicles absolutely 
despise them, but somehow those who use them assert that they 
have rights to make pollution and noise.  Heck, the bears don't 
even spill oil into waterways, they're just looking for food in 
places where people have taken away their habitat!

Just thought I would share my ranting and raving -- Anne Woiwode

Tim Reis, 517-373-1263
LANSING--The Michigan Department of  Natural Resources will 
host a bear management symposium, "People, Bears and 
Challenges for the 21st Century," Friday, March 10, 2000, at 
the Northfield Hilton Hotel in Troy.
A very distinguished panel of bear managers and research 
biologists will discuss the various human cultures and 
beliefs, economic factors and land use trends that will 
influence future bear management in North America and other 
parts of the world.
"This is an excellent opportunity for bear hunters, 
interested citizens and wildlife professionals to learn 
about the future of bear management," said Tim Reis, DNR 
Bear Management Specialist. "The entire one-day program is 
free to the public."
In addition to hearing a presentation by Dr. Dave Garselis 
about his research of five of the world's eight bear 
species, participants will learn about bear research and 
management activities in eastern Canada, the Great Lakes 
region and the southeastern U.S. The concept of managing 
bears at a level determined by public attitudes also will be 
The presentations will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 
the lunch break at 11:30. The afternoon session begins at 1 
p.m. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions 
during a panel discussion from 4:30 to 5 p.m.
"The Michigan Bear Hunters Association deserves a lot 
of credit for helping us organize the symposium," said Reis. 
"They made it possible for some of the most knowledgeable 
people in the world about bear to come to Michigan for this 
special event."
Tentative Program Agenda
People, Bears and Challenges for the 21st Century 
Friday, March 10, 2000
Northfield Hilton Hotel
5500 Crooks Road at I-75
Troy, Michigan
10:00 - 10:45   Bears of the World--Dr. Dave Garshelis, 
Minnesota DNR
10:45 - 11:30   Black Bear Management Issues in 
Southeastern U.S.--Dr. Frank T. van Manen, U.S. Geological 
Survey, Appalachian Field Lab
11:30 - 1:00    Lunch
1:00 - 1:45     Bear Research and Management in Eastern Canada--Dr. Martyn Obard
, Ontario MNR
1:45 - 2:30     Black Bear Population Dynamics in the Great 
Lakes and Northeastern U.S.--Dr. Larry Visser, Michigan DNR
2:30 - 3:00     Break
3:00 - 3:45     Land Use Trends in Michigan--Mr. Bill Rustem, Public Sector Cons
ultants, Lansing
3:45 - 4:30     A Social Carrying Capacity for Bears--Dr. Ben 
Peyton, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, MSU
4:30 - 5:00     Panel Discussion
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