Roadside Shooting of Yukon ‘Spirit’ Bear Sparks Community Anger
The shooting of popular grizzly with unusual colouring in Carcross Tagish First Nation community has angered locals. A campaign is underway to ban roadside hunting.
If you shoot a bear from the side of a highway, does that qualify as hunting? One man in southern Yukon argues it isn’t, and wants the practice outlawed.
Greg Karais has begun a social media campaign to ban roadside shootings after a popular grizzly bear was shot along Tagish Rd., an hour’s drive south of Whitehorse, on May 22. The shooting of the blond grizzly, which had become a roadside attraction, has angered some in the Carcross Tagish First Nation community.
Carcross elder Edna Helm, 67, told the Star that she and others in the community called the 5-year-old sow a “spirit bear,” not because of any First Nations legend but for its rare beauty and colour.
“I saw the bear grazing and I would pull over and watch it for a while,” Helm said. “Just to sit there and watch this bear with its beautiful colours that you are not going to see again, for who knows, a 100 years, it uplifted my spirits and I was happy for the rest of my day.”
One day after the shooting, Helm was on her way to Whitehorse and was so angry she submitted a letter to the editor, which was published in the Yukon News. Under the headline, “You killed a spirit bear,” Helm wrote:
“To the persons who shot our spirit grizzly bear on our traditional land near Carcross, on May 22, you have caused much hurt in our hearts and many tears were shed. It was a pleasure watching him grow into adulthood (she later found out it was a female). I hope your first shot was true and for the rest of your lives I hope he haunts your soul, if you have one.”
That letter sparked an outpouring of support around the region.
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Tags: Anger, bears, Campaign, Canada, Carcross, Carcross Yukon, Community, Eco News, First Nation, Grizzly Bear, Hunting, News Story, Outrage, Roadside, Shooting, Social Media, Spirit Bear, Support, Whitehorse, Whitehorse Yukon, Yukon
About jenseraJennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.
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