The "three bears" invaded a meeting of the Utah Wildlife Board Wednesday, but barely raised an eyebrow among the board officials and members of the public attending.
The trio dressed in bear costumes was there on behalf of conservation groups who oppose the two-year proclamation on bear hunting, recently issued by the board. The board reconsidered the proclamation, debating whether it should be for two years or one, and voted to retain the longer period by a 3-2 vote.A main reason cited for the two-year proclamation is that it will allow biologists to gather data on bears for a longer period, uncomplicated by changing the hunting rules in the middle.
During the first part of the meeting, the largest bear sat in the audience while one of his companions stood in a corner and another sat beside the rear wall of the Division of Wildlife Resources auditorium, 1596 W. North Temple.
At one point, a spokesman for a brine shrimp company spoke to the board, debating new licensing fees proposed for his industry. As board members responded, he listened, nodding gravely. He was standing directly behind the largest bear, whose mouth was frozen in a ferocious snarl.
Later, "The big black bear got up and portrayed himself as a bear and simply indicated, `I don't know why you have to shoot me,' " said Steve Phillips, information officer for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
When asked his name for the record, the animal growled.
Another bruin told the Deseret News, "We'd like to show our presence. . . . These decisions affect the fate of beings that can't even attend the meeting." She said members of her group, the Utah Coalition for Animals, are against baiting and hunting bears, or killing wildlife for fun or trophies.
They believe animals should not be killed for "non-sustenance needs," she said.
When wildlife decisions are made without any representation for the animals, Ms. Bear added, it overlooks their needs and rights.
"It seems that in our present political system we don't have a way to represent wildlife," she added.