T-Paw saves disfigured bear from lethal injection

In northern Minneosta, bear stories are on the news all the time. If I blogged every one this thing would be called MinnesotaBear. But I feel bad I’ve waited so long to talk about Solo, the one-eared bear from the Vermilion Range. Solo and her two cubs are hibernating underneath someone’s porch. They called the DNR and the DNR, not known for their PR prowess, said they’re going to kill it. I imagine before the media covered such things, this was often a first choice for the DNR.

Caller: Ya, there’s a bear in my …

DNR: We’ll shoot it.

Caller: Well, you don’t have to shoot it, it seems …

DNR: (gun cocking) I’ll be there in two minutes.

Caller: Seriously, you don’t have to …


Anyway, just like with cows it becomes politically difficult to kill things with names. After a week of debate in the media, the governor has intervened. See below:

Governor grants Solo reprieve
Don Davis, Forum State Capitol Bureau – 12/21/2007

“We are going to give the black bear a reprieve, a pardon,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced on his weekly Friday radio show. “It is a good pre-Christmas, pre-holiday announcement.

State Department of Natural Resources officials had considered putting Solo down because she had become too friendly with people, which could be dangerous. But now state officials say she will live out her life in a wildlife sanctuary, but no decision about where to send the bear family will be made until next week.

Solo is a 4-year-old, one-eared bear that has become well known to residents Eagles Nest Township near Tower. That is where she and her cubs are hibernating under a private cabin. Pawlenty, saying all he knew about the case was what he read in newspapers, came down on the bear’s side Friday.

“My feeling is this bear should not be euthanized,” Pawlenty declared.

Paul, a caller to Pawlenty’s show, said killing her would be “a waste of natural resources.”

The governor agreed, but said the state must keep children safe. “We obviously have to put those concerns first.”

DNR officials said Friday afternoon that the bear family will be sent to a captive facility where the three can live without “uncontrolled interactions with people.”

“This solution satisfies our original and primary concern about public safety,” said Michael Don Carlos, DNR wildlife research and policy manager. “The typical behavior of a black bear, like any wild animal, is to avoid humans. This bear is habituated to humans and has lost its fear of people, which makes it impossible to predict its behavior.”

DNR officials said they are looking into several locations for the bears.

If Pawlenty remains involved, look for Solo to receive some sort of judgeship, maybe on the appellate court. Unless it shows activist tendencies. After that, look for T-Paw to drop it off at Tom Rukavina’s house.

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