Doug's Blog

Rants from a renegade naturalist

Death in Yellowstone: Living with animals who sometimes kill and eat us.

Death in Yellowstone: Living with animals who sometimes kill and eat us.

Federal officials defied their own rules in killing the mother bear behind this month’s Yellowstone tragedy. The lives of the endangered species are about to get even cheaper.


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Yellowstone grizzly bear involved in hiker's death


We need to honor this hiker and let the mother bear roam wild. The reason: Mother grizzlies never intentionally kill humans; they don't care about us, only the safety of their cubs. The hiker surprised the sow grizzly. We will never know exactly how but likely she was on a day bed and he got too close. The hiker had wounds on his arms, indicating he probably fought back, an understandable but bad reaction to a mother bear to whom resistance means her cubs are still in danger. We don't know why she made contact; close proximity possibly made worse by running. Running or trying to climb a tree after a mother grizzly with cubs is the worst choice, followed by fighting back. Apparently, the hiker's body was cached and fed upon. This most disturbing of consequences needs to seen in context of the natural world of the bear. Anything dead out there is Yellowstone this time of year is seen as a most valuable food source during the lean times of summer. Witness past bison carcasses in Hayden Valley where humans got too close, then in turn were eaten too. Once dead, a human is like any other animal. If several grizzlies are around, the most dominant animal, often a big male, will appropriate the carcass. So if a mother bear killed a human in perceived defense of her cubs, that doesn't mean she cached or fed on the body. The salient point here: This mother bear is no more likely to repeat this most natural of aggressions--kill, or consume a human--than any other mother grizzly bear in the world. The feds are more nervous about litigation and bad press than public safety. The only way to totally protect the public from wild bears and insure safety for park visitors is to kill off all the grizzlies. the federal agencies don't want that any more than we do. Help them clarify their thinking. This was a defensive natural act for a wild grizzly. It will probably never happen again to this mother bear, though of course it might--and that is the great value of wilderness and their risky animals. The hiker was experienced, knew the area well and loved to take this hike. His now missing opinion is what would have mattered to me: What would he have wanted for the fate of this bear?

Doug Peacock, 8-8-2016, Northern Yellowstone

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The real Grizzly Man

Recent piece by David Gessner.

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Northern Tribes Support Yellowstone's Grizzlies

Take a look at this short video clip and decide for yourself: A newspaper oped writer told me that this bureaucratic action in Cody, Wyoming was proper protocol for a (WY and the Interagency Grizzly Committee) government-run meeting; I finally watched it myself and thought of the end of Easy Rider.

The Tribal Coalition (now up to 35 separate tribes) is vehemently opposed to the government's proposal to Delist the Yellowstone Grizzly (meaning to strip the bear of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act).

Disrespect or otherwise, the battle is heating up and the tribes will be heard; they are calling for the removal of Chris Servheen, the committee's boss. The words of tribal elders about the bears are eloquent and often ground-shaking. Check them out.


The extreme DISRESPECT shown to the Northern Cheyenne Nation by Wyoming State public officials,...
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Delisting the Grizzly Bear...or Not

I was interviewed by my fellow vet, Adventurer of the Year, Stacy Bare for the Huffington Post. It was posted a few hours ago. The subjects are grizzly and polar bears, iconic American wildlife, Yellowstone delisting of grizzlies, veterans in the wilderness and Western states’ proposed takeover of public lands.

Read the Huffington Post interview

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