STATES CHRONICLE – Teddy bears were inspired by real-life black bears living in the U.S. Back in the time when Theodore Roosevelt was president he went hunting with some fellow politicians. Although back then hunting was a very normal and manly activity, the president refused to kill a bear.
The scene was immortalized in drawing and published. Soon after, toys in the form of teddy bears started to be made and sold as a reminder to the American citizen of how kind-hearted their president was.
Unfortunately, despite the president’s gentle deed, Americans didn’t realize that the bear population needed protection. Although in those times the black bears were indeed not endangered, continuous hunting eventually led to them being threatened by extinction.
Overhunting wasn’t though the only factor leading to the Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi black bear extinction. Loss of habitat had also decreased considerably the bears’ chances of survival. The black bear population was listed as endangered in 1992 when the Fish and Wildlife Service found there were only 150 bears left.
The latest count reported a number between 500 and 750 bears existing in the U.S. territory. This means the population of black bears is definitely on the right track, as people have been doing their best to protect and save them in the last two decades.
Seeing the numbers, the Fish and Wildlife Service decided to cut the black bears from the endangered species list. However, even if the bears are no longer on the list, they still need protection so that their numbers don’t drop again.
If we think about president’s Roosevelt hunting story, maybe Americans should have followed his example and protect the bears. Leaving aside whatever entertainment hunting brought to the gentlemen of those days and to people nowadays, we should, at least, consider protecting the animals and not going around helping them go extinct.
After all, we are also destroying their ecosystems, so even if we don’t hunt them down, we are leaving them without food or shelter, which cannot possibly be good for their survival as a species.
And since the teddy bears are so popular and loved, even beyond U.S. borders, why shouldn’t we love and protect their real-life versions?
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