The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has joined the chorus of people criticizing the decision to release a five-month-old black bear into the wild. A statement released this morning by the AMC said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak was “upset” with the release of the bear known as Makoon early Tuesday, and the government should “re-examine” its decision.

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This article was published 20/6/2012 (3404 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Makoon in early April before being sent to the city zoo.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Makoon in early April before being sent to the city zoo.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has joined the chorus of people criticizing the decision to release a five-month-old black bear into the wild. A statement released this morning by the AMC said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak was "upset" with the release of the bear known as Makoon early Tuesday, and the government should "re-examine" its decision.

"I am very upset that this government turned a blind eye and ear to solid scientific evidence and the call of thousands of Manitobans on the release of this baby bear cub into nature at this time," said a statement sent by the AMC to media early Wednesday.

"This decision by Conservation Minister Gord McIntosh indicates poor decision-making and displays a lack of concern for the bear’s well-being. In addition, this move quite possibly contravenes the Province's own animal care legislation.

''By releasing Makoon into nature at such a young age, this bear will experience extreme anxiety and/or distress that will significantly impair its health and well-being in what will likely be a considerably short life".

The release mentions the bear signifies "courage, strength, protection and wisdom."

"The name Makoon is tied to my family name of "Niibin Makoonse" which is the root of my family name many generations ago. As such, I feel a strong connection to these animals and the way this cub has been treated by this government is simply disgraceful. First Nations are taught to treat bears with caution, respect and reverence and the province’s actions indicates a complete lack of respect not only for the cub, but a complete lack of appreciation for the cultural significance the bear holds in First Nations culture and family," said Grand Chief Nepinak in the prepared statement.

A provincial spokeswoman said Wednesday morning the two bears that were released were not tagged in the process.

Gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca