Let us start with the saying: “The bear is a symbol of what is right with the world.”
The story of the new bear in the Refuge is never a pleasant story. On one side, we shall be satisfied with the fact that a bear cub had got this chance to live and survive, but on the other side, it shall raise a lot of questions about our relation towards bears and their homeland, wilderness.
9-month old bear ended up in Kuterevo not only because his mother was killed by a car (that is one version of the cause), but mostly because people did him a “bear service” or simply: disservice. Once alone, people did the best they knew: feeding him, allowing him to eat from trees in their backyards, giving him restaurant leftovers (though spicy) and getting him used to the human presence. The little one would visit different people always in the same time and people would always award him with some food and company. Afterwards, he would retreat in the woods, where he naturally belongs to. Human wish to help a poor bear cub is more than just a good intention. We are interconnected with bears in many ways. Through bear mythology we can find out much more about us, than about them. Even bear biology, in particulartheir behavior can teach us a lot about us and our behavior. Nevertheless, it seems that the Teddy Bear phenomenon has changed our understanding of bears and how we should live with them.
Bear is the king of the forests in the Northern hemisphere, at least there where the forest is still present. As such, bear is not supposed to be in the kingdom of people, not even in their backyards. If that happens, there are many ways for prevention of mistakes which would cause the loss of fear and veneration of the bear toward humans. Respect and veneration is a safe distance which create conditions for coexistence of people and big carnivores in the same area. Little orphan which was hanging around Šmrika village was not lucky enough to be treated with veneration, but with compassion. Thus, after almost 2 months of moving around houses in the village, the decision on how to (re)move him, future problem bear, had to be made. There were 2 choices: to euthanize (kill) or to move in the refuge. What were the reasons for lingering and postponing of actually doing something, is another questions. Why local people didn’t follow the given advices is another one. Why the Kuterevo refuge has not got any official information or notification about the decision to move the bear there, another one. Why the problem is not raised in a proper way or why no one takes responsibility to inform people about that – another one… and so forth.
This bear is definitely a symbol of what is right in the world (Croatia). Instead of toasting to one saved life, let’s think deeper and question our deeds in order to change them. In the meantime, Marco Kralj will be getting used to his new home, new friend Dodzi and getting ready for the winter peace in Kuterevo.
“This we know. The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”