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Let's leave our 'Country Bear' alone

By Mark Washburn
mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

Summer, that lazy season we long for all year, comes with its own dire warnings and urgent threats.

Party poopers want us to worry about lightning, sunburn, bee stings, flash floods, heat stroke, nibblesome sharks and people in Raleigh snatching your airport.

But this warning goes too far: Don’t feed the bear.

Yes, the latest drama to seize the imagination of the metrop is titled “Country Bear Comes to the City,” a seemingly charming tale about a cub likely on leave from the mountains that has been seen wandering the ’burbs.

Don’t feed it? “Mama, there’s a fuzzy bear in the backyard. Should I give it a handful of Kibbles ’n Bits?”

No way anybody thinks like that. Not even here.

Country Bear is lucky it hasn’t been chased back to Asheville by a squadron of snorting bulldozers.

How it managed to survive crossing two interstates to go sightseeing in Union County is one of the great mysteries of the age. If Country Bear needs a nickname, we’ll call him “Lucky.”

I am personally worried about the critter. Bears have never done me any injustice, and I am all for maintaining the balance. I fret it has wandered into dangerous territory where hazards await.

I’m not much of a human. When it comes to the battle of man vs. beast, I generally root for the underdog, the one with paws and claws.

Just for sport, sharks have been fished off the coast to the point of near extinction. Whenever I hear about a human getting bitten by a shark, I applaud the fish. We certainly had it coming.

Florida is absolutely aslither with nuisance gators and invasive boas. This upsets people there, but I must root for the reptiles. When you build a pretty little estate on swampland, you need to expect a little trouble from former occupants.

Hereabouts, during the boom, we scraped native habitat clean to put up instant neighborhoods with names like Fox Run or Deer Frolic. A better name would have been Turtle Smush.

Now comes the news that a peregrine falcon is roosting on an uptown skyscraper, in case you’re missing a pigeon. A band on its leg shows it moved here from Atlanta (and who wouldn’t?).

I am watching this trend with concern. We are not good neighbors for grand creations of nature.

It even outrages us to improve the habitat of homegrown species. I refer, of course, to Bobcats and Panthers.

Head west, Country Bear. This is no place for you.

Washburn: 704-358-5007.
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