Can Animals Just “Be” Animals?   1 comment

September 9, 2015

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On the heels of such news like Cecil the lion who was brutally poached by a Minnesota dentist, or Blaze, the assumed grizzly to have been killed by Yellowstone staff in retaliation of fatally attacking a solo hiker, there are questions to be asked looking forward.

 In the case of Lance Crosby, the 63 year-old hiker who died defending himself from a sow grizzly, there are two sides to the debate.  One side of the argument tends to blame the man who was hiking alone, not using bear spray, and not wearing bells; While park officials state that there was evidence that the body was cached to be eaten at a later time.  Being the devil’s advocate, let us remove blame from both parties and ask a simple question.
Grizzly bear, John E. Marriott www.wildernessprints.com

Grizzly bear, John E. Marriott http://www.wildernessprints.com

Can animals just be animals?

It is truly sad that a man lost his life while recreating in such a beautiful place, but that place is one inhabited by grizzly bears, a top carnivore in the park.  It has been shown that sows with cubs have less tolerance for humans in close proximity, versus bears without cubs (2000, Stonorov).

On second thought, perhaps Blaze WAS hungry;  Park officials did state the body was cached for a later meal.  Is it unreasonable to expect that a large carnivore would eat human flesh?  Is it possible we are not the top species?  After all, this incident occurred in a wild environment.  It’s not as if she broke into a home, or attacked someone in their backyard.  If anything it occurred in her backyard…..but I digress.

Besides recreation and ranching, rural areas are becoming home to vast numbers of people every day.  Subdivisions are sprouting up at an alarming rate all across the country in an effort to escape city life, but when wildlife gets too close people become afraid.  Instead of arming with guns, I recommend education as a way to arm yourself from possible encounters that can happen while living or recreating in wilderness.  Here, fellow author Rachel Tilseth gives first-hand knowledge on ways to protect yourself from mishaps while protecting wildlife at the same time.

In other wildlife news, gray wolves have returned to California and are also experiencing both positive and negative feedback.  Wolf advocates are pleased to have the species back in the state, while ranchers are leery of the possible interactions between wolves and their livestock.  Again, another case of large carnivores not being accepted for what they do naturally- feeding themselves.  Is there a happy medium?  We shall see what wolf management has in store down the line as wolves become established.

In closing, just remember that wild places belong to wild beings, and education is the key to living in harmony and coexistence with wildlife.
Stonorov, 2000. Living in Harmony with Bears.
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One response to “Can Animals Just “Be” Animals?

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  1. People certainly don’t like having their position at the top of the food chain challenged. It seems top carnivores are often the first ones to take a hit following human presence. Sad for the animals, and sad for the ecosystem, as it throws everything out of whack. You are right: education is monumentally important going forward!

    Liked by 1 person

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