Will the public think Yellowstone is safer if this bear is killed?

Agonizing, there is no other word to describe the decisions that must be made at the highest level in Yellowstone National Park. Authorities are doing everything they can to be sure they correctly identify the bear that killed a hiker. Superintendent Dan Wenk has already said the female grizzly trapped in the area where Lance Crosby’s body was found will be euthanized if there is irrefutable evidence that she is the culprit. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Crosby and also to the dedicated park staff who responded to the scene and must now investigate and make those hard decisions. There are so many layers of consideration-it is never simple. However, there is one question that we would like to be part of the deliberations and that is for the authorities to think very deeply about what they hope to achieve as far as public perception if they decide to kill the bear and her cubs. Will removing the bear actually make people who recreate in Yellowstone National Park safer?  There is a frightening possibility that killing this female will simply give visitors a false sense of security that the ‘man-eating’ grizzly is gone. This could lead to complacency where visitors or seasonal employees may not follow the recommendations to carry bear spray, hike in groups and be vigilant for the creatures that live there. Yellowstone National Park-indeed the whole Yellowstone Ecosystem-is now home to many hundreds of grizzly where can u buy valtrex bears. They are large, powerful and supremely protective animals and any or every one of them has the capacity to make an encounter fatal to a human, especially if the human is unfamiliar or unwilling to take standard precautions.. Is there a way that Superintendent Wenk and his staff, together with the interagency team that is responsible for grizzly bears, can either spare the bear involved in the death of Mr Crosby, or ensure that the message gets out that Yellowstone is still not a place to take lightly if they do remove this specific animal? Fear can be a great motivator, it can also be numbing and allow people to ignore what is presented to them. Every park trail in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and many area forests has a “Bear Attack” sign warning people of precautions such as bear spray and group hiking before they set off on the trail. Would it make a difference to add that there HAVE been deaths in the ecosystem and the bears involved remain there? This is harsh, but it is reality. We must regard every large carnivore as having the capacity to kill if we, as humans, behave in ways that defy normal preventative expectations, even though it is an extraordinarily rare occurrence

-this is the only attitude that will keep us and them as safe as possible as we share our ever decreasing wild environment. http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/us/yellowstone-grizzly-bear-attack-hiker-dead-feat/index.html

Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Meeting in Cody July 2015

It is always a learning experience to attend the public meetings of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and of their ruling body, the Commissioners. The meeting in Cody was important for The Cougar Fund from several perspectives-scientific, social and political. There were two main topics of interest for us. The report from biologist Zach Turnbull about the challenges he and his crew face as far as mitigating, forensically analyzing and confirming depredations of livestock by large native predators, and the decision, which we will concentrate on here, about Chapter Four Trapping Reform that we have been following closely in support of Wyoming Untrapped.

The recent modifications to Wyoming’s Trapping regulation give us pause to reflect on a consideration that is NEVER addressed by wildlife managers. Trapping is brutal. There is no ’nice’ face to put on the practice of snaring, confining or catching an animal in a vice, noose or cage. These small animals are then left for hours, even days, with no food or water at the mercy of the elements. The suffering endured comes to an end by bludgeoning, drowning or other violent means. The ironies surrounding trapping are truly astonishing: It is a commercial activity yet the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation states as one of its seven principles ‘the prohibition on commerce of dead wildlife’: It is widely recognized that trapping is favored by a predominantly conservative demographic. Consider then that the major markets from which trappers profit are in fact the communist regimes in Russia and Asia whose ideologies would seek to destroy the conservatism that is so willingly outfitting their armies with warm winter clothing! The primitive and unarguably cruel methods used in trapping would cause outrage if done on the once wild species we now call pets. Imagine if you will, the neighbor’s small dog or cat or the 4H rabbit in a foothold trap, or hanging from a neck snare in the yard next to yours, for however many days until the owner comes to batter it to death… It is hard to believe that the obvious challenges to our standards of compassionate treatment of all living things are compounded by the fact that trapping is indeed a legal ‘past­?time’. Whenever decision makers refer to the ‘rights’ of trappers, we can be confident that is the ‘dead end’ to any discussion about the social implications of a practice. Inherently fascinating is the trappers’ own justification for what they do…..a common theme is that they are ‘doing a service’, somehow protecting the general populace from whatever mysterious consequence might befall us if trapping were to cease. Neither the administrative bodies who regulate trapping nor the trappers themselves will actually describe what this ‘service’ is.

There is also the complicated relationship between the general public and ‘animal rights’ advocates. Shockingly, the people who often advocate for kind and considerate treatment of non-human animals rely on inappropriate threats of violence and shaming towards their fellow human animals. Yes, it is extremely hard to understand the perspective of another person who views killing as a sport. Here is a wonderful quote by a Cougar Fund member “What makes a man want to kill for sport? There are women who do this also. THAT I really don’t understand. The ones who are to nurture, also kill. What makes someone want to kill anything? What makes someone wake up in the morning with the yearning to go out and kill something to make them feel powerful, or worthy?” (Thank you Janelle Peters Pitula) These are the questions that get to the heart of the issue. What is the difference in the psychology of those that kill for recreation and those that not only valtrex order canada have no desire to do this, but also find it incomprehensible.

Science is discovering more and more evidence of sentience in non-human animals, this is is the ability to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively. This means that an animal suffers in much the same way that people do…pain, loss, fear, hunger, thirst. This was recognized by 18th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham when he said about animals “The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?” 

And yet we continue to differentiate between animals as to the level of suffering allowed according to superficial categorization. Animals are everywhere-in nature, factory farms, entertainment, captivity, laboratories, homes, public service, and in many, many more facets of our lives. Society ignores suffering in the case of fur-bearing species subject to trapping, and marginalizes it for livestock who are protected only by three laws which allow them no more than 28 hours without a break during transportation, a ‘humane death’ and easily exploited definitions of confinement. Laboratory animals are still pretty much ‘under the radar’ when it comes to acceptable ways to treat them-hidden by the smoke screen of seemingly altruistic exploitation for the sake of humans, their ailments, their make-up or their soap powder. Lastly, there is slightly more accountability surrounding acceptable ways to treat those animals we call ‘pets’. While different states do not have consistent laws protecting companion animals there is an element of community watchdogging and non-governmental organization oversight that can catapult egregious cruelty into the social media stratosphere. Why, and on what basis do humans get to decide that it is OK to torture a pine martin or a fox, but not puppy or a kitten? When is an animal proprietary and when is it free, and how does this relate to the level of suffering we allow? Wildlife is held in the public trust for us all, yet a minority by virtue of a few dollars have bought the right to ‘ownership’ that plays out in ways that degrade the human capacity for empathy and compassion.

Although there are Agency personnel who acknowledge that there is room for improvement in the regulations governing wildlife, they too admonish us for referring to the capacity of an animal to suffer. On the surface this would appear to be similar to the ostrich hiding its head in the sand-just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean it is not happening. It actually has a much deeper and darker basis. Even though the Public Trust Doctrine of which the North American Model is a component, was designed to manage wildlife for everyone, it failed to include everyone in its financial model. Thus, at the foundational level American wildlife is funded by money raised almost entirely by killing. Just as death and taxes are the certainties of human existence, death and sustainable wildlife management is the huge tangle that underlies the monopoly enjoyed by hunters. The inability of non-hunting users to participate at a financial level is what prevents democracy from entering the picture.

Man is a predator, he- like the iconic carnivores we share our environment with-will kill another animal in order to eat and survive.  The dance of predator and prey is in time with the rhythm of nature. Where we can explore opportunities for positive change is to be honest about the fact that man is the only animal that chooses to kill simply for pleasure, that is able to ignore the suffering of the animals he targets and who bases his/her own self worth on the ability to kill and display a trophy. Man can also choose to STOP elevating the act of recreational killing as an acceptable measurement of his prowess. We hope society will learn to celebrate the value of animals alive.