California Bear Death Prompts Formation of AR Group
[Ventura County Reporter - comments at full story link]
The Ojai Wildlife League is criticizing Fish and Game officials for euthanizing a wild bear last month, as the head game warden defends his role in killing the 400-pound animal
There's a sense of guilt, responsibility even, that hangs in the air underneath a tree in the 200 block of Aliso Street in Ojai. The flowers and candles littering the ground resemble the site of an accident scene, or a grave. On a cactus leaf laid out, the words "Forgive Us" are scrawled.
Residents are paying their respects for the death of a very unconventional member of the community, writing poetry, sculpting art and holding ceremonial events, humanizing an animal they may have attacked, rather than befriended, under different circumstances. But it's the formation of a special group that's thrust the Ojai Valley into the spotlight this month, a group whose members are taking an active role in criticizing state game wardens in what they say was cruelty for euthanizing a 400-pound bear that posed no apparent threat after climbing up the tree in Downtown Ojai on Oct. 10.
"As an organization, we don't have an answer at this point. We know how tragic this was," says Chris Nottoli, a charter member of the newly formed Ojai Wildlife League. "This bear died unnecessarily."