A Tribute To The Florida Bears

A Tribute To The Florida Bears

We Failed These Magnificent Black Bears

A Tribute To The Florida Bears – There are a few magnificent creatures who have iconic status in the animal world. The mighty blue whale can reach a length of 98 feet and weigh up to 180 tonnes. The elephant – the lion – the ape – the rhino – the wolf and the great white shark all engender a sense of awe in the beholder. But I venture to say that more children go to bed at night clutching a teddy bear than any combination of the aforementioned beings. Bears are a symbol of power – strength and love. In times past when a true hunter killed a bear to fulfil a human need – he honoured and thanked the animal for surrendering its life and he asked for forgiveness. Not so this day.

A teddy is a life-long friend – a confidant – a confessor – an ally in times of sorrow and the best bedfellow that any child ever has – and some adults too! There is something about talking to a trusted teddy bear that makes us feel safe and wanted and less alone in a complicated world. 

Knowing the affinity that humans have for bears it is shocking that we treat our teddy’s namesake in such an appalling fashion all over the world. They are not safe in any country in which they roam. They are captured and exploited for profit in the circus – the zoo – for food – for their skins – teeth – claws and paws. They are imprisoned in revolting Asian bear bile farms and made to dance and perform in India and Pakistan. Their teeth and claws are ripped out so they can be baited by dogs for gambling and entertainment and they are hunted relentlessly by psychopaths who need to kill to feel alive.

The Florida bear hunt on October 24 and 25, 2015, made it abundantly clear that even after 21 years of relative calm and recovery in that state, that the pressure from the hunting lobby and the collective weakness of the local politicians were no match for the blood lust of the camo-cowards. The black bear was once again a target, and tragically 295 of them were massacred, in a 2 day bloodbath in Florida. Politicians in that state have blood on their greedy hands. An unknown number of injured bears will die a prolonged death, and countless desperate orphaned cubs will starve slowly, or become victims of ignorant people or other prey animals.

I wrote this poem as an apology to our persecuted black bear cousins. We have failed you completely – just as we are betraying our magnificent brown bears – Asiatic black bears – spectacled bears – sloth bears – Panda bears – polar bears and sun bears. Humans are the common enemy of every bear in the world.

In Memory of The Victims of The Florida Bear Hunt

Rosemary Wright
October 31, 2015

A Tribute To The Florida Bears

As she lived – so she died
Always for her cubs!

She awoke on that crisp fall day
Aware of the familiar – the sounds
The scents – the subtle nuances
Of her bountiful forest home – all as
It should be – known – predictable.


Then she scented the wind once and again
A slight unease made her tremble
Nothing definitive – a vague sense of
Coming and doom – something she
Did not recognize or understand.

She nosed her three cubs awake
Her mischievous, playful young – her family
Her angels on earth – her reason to be
Her strong heart beating for them
Only them.

Her mother love an unassailable force
Her powerful intelligence and her instincts
The sure, steadfast allies of her cubs
No matter their sins and youthful nuisance
She would challenge Ursa Major for her cubs.

As she lived – so she died
Always for her cubs!

She angled against a moss covered stump
Leaned into its comfort and her cubs settled
Softly on her chest – greedy pink mouths
Nursing noisily – pushing and prodding
The gift of life from mother to cubs – safe – warm.

Her nose was assaulted first – her ears
Heard a lingering scream – her body tensed
Cubs immediately fearful – not knowing why
Mother facing her young – she had
Taught them well – one growl means climb.

Two growls mean go to our den
Far to the back – only come out to me
A slow and steady rumble means
Go to the creek – into the water
Run – never look back – don’t stop.

The cubs had been schooled by their
Mother – not because there had ever been
Any danger – but because of a primal
Instinctive knowing that an unseen enemy
Existed – waiting – hating – crass – cruel.

As she lived – so she died
Always for her cubs!

A nameless noise assaulted her ears
Slams and voices – laughter and guffaws
She didn’t recognize this predator
But she knew the peril immediately.
A steady rumbling growl signalled the danger.

Her cubs didn’t question – did not tarry
The largest – a male led the way – his sisters
Followed – away from their mother and then
Turning south they fled to the welcoming water
Of the creek and plunged into the shallows.

They ran – water droplets flying in all directions
They stumbled and fell and ran again
Their hearts beating with a frenzied fury
They moaned and cried and ran
Grief had already gripped their hearts.

As she lived – so she died
Always for her cubs!

Their mother’s terrified piercing screams
Reached her cubs as they struggled – fell – ran on
She had never seen a man before
So she stood on her hind legs – reaching for the sky
Perhaps her size would deter their advance.

One said “Too stupid to run” – the other laughed
He gut shot her once and then again
Well below the heart – not a kill shot – a suffer shot
The first explosive bullet drove the breath from her body
The second brought her angel of death closer.

She crashed backwards milk oozing from her body
“All right – there are cubs – get the dogs – tender steaks
Are carved from the chubby rump of a cub”.
Frenzied four legged wolf-like animals tore
Past the dying mother – baying in the early light.

As she lived – so she died
Always for her cubs!

Her last thoughts as she lay bleeding on the still damp grass
Were of her babies – her family – their sweet faces
The killer put a foot on her snout and ground her face
Further into the dirt – breathing was impossible
She convulsed – he leaned over and cut her throat.

Her warm blood gushed – she did not see the frustrated
Dogs return – her cubs had learned their lessons – her intelligence
Passed on to them and from them to their young one day
The cubs reached the waterfall – detoured down the side
Returned to the water. Still they ran. Before noon they stopped.

They didn’t recognize this place – there were fewer trees
They found a rock and crowded beneath it – whimpering
Shaking and moaning – their grief was absolute – they knew
Instinctively that the ties that had bound their family were gone
Out of sheer exhaustion and lacking understanding – they slept.

As she lived – so she died
Always for her cubs!

At dusk they returned to their special familiar place
This had been their home – she was gone – her powerful scent
Remained on the grass in a pool of congealed blood 
They climbed a tree – searching the sky – crying – frightened – hungry
The stars blinked – the twinkling lights of Ursa Major shone back.

Her body was weighed in a filthy, blood stained net – her head – hide – paws
Removed – she was a record holder – too damn bad those
Cubs got away – “next time” said the man with the knife
They strutted and grinned – belly bumped – high- fived each other
“Easiest damn hunt I’ve ever been on – drive up – execute – done”.

A week later the male cub was killed in a school yard
Hunger had driven him away from the forest – into the open
They shot him seventeen times – he was a danger to the children
The smallest female would not leave their den – she starved to death
The larger female found a log with bugs and worms aplenty.

She grew slowly and steadily – her magnificent instincts
Guiding her every move – her senses sharp – the rank smell
Of man forever in her memory – her raw bear energy
Linked to the dense grief that still claimed her heart
And she knew in the soft gentle place that was her soul
That when she was finally a mother …

That she would live – love – die
Always for her cubs
Just as her mother had.

Z - A

The light of the 295 massacred bears will not be extinguished
The ignorant – arrogant perpetrators are well known
The officials of the State of Florida are culpable
The Bears stand in Death with Cecil the Lion
The intentional killings will be remembered
Only the bears will be honoured!