“…and have dominion… over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28, part.)
And thus God blessed man. And one of those men is Leigh Page. He and his wife, Lee, had a farm, down in the USA. They don’t, anymore. They loved nature and the simple life. Over time, Leigh befriended a big, brown bear. It wasn’t big when they met. Fluffy’s mother was killed by hunters. It took a while, but eventually he and the bear became fast friends. In time, the bear, Fluffy, brought members of his family to meet Leigh. The circle of friends grew.
Leigh is a large, powerful man, but some of the bears towered over him. Leigh said that the larger, the more powerful they were, the gentler they seemed. Large and small—within a few months, Lee and Leigh enjoyed the company of eighteen bears. Eighteen—males and females. They brought their cubs, their children, with them. They shared meals, frolicked and played together. They became part of the family.
Then Leigh’s neighbour bought a gun. As the bears came to visit the Page’s farm, the neighbour began taking pot shots at them. He killed a few. It wasn’t even during the hunting season. Lee admitted that, way back, before he met the bears face to face, he also had been a hunter. Not any more. You don’t kill your friends, do you? He reported his neighbour to Wildlife protection organization. They chose to drag their feet. They ignored Leigh’s pleas to save his bears. Then came the hunting season.
There are no more bears on Leigh’s farm. Just corpses of his friends. Leigh still feels guilty. By coming to visit him, the bears became open targets. Pleading with the neighbour did no good either. He liked killing.
“It was all legal”, Leigh told me. “My neighbour killed the last few during the hunting season. “Yes”, he repeated, “It was all legal…”
“So what did you do?” I asked.
“We sold the farm,” Lee whispered. “I couldn’t risk Leigh killing our neighbour, could I?” She couldn’t talk anymore. Her throat was choked with tears.
They now live in a trailer. They have to move, from place to place, to make sure they don’t form any attachments. They’re still easy to make friends. But not with bears. Not any more.