Doug's Blog

Rants from a renegade naturalist

Yellowstone grizzly bear involved in hiker's death

http://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/news/15054.htm

DO NOT LET THE GOVERNMENT KILL THIS BEAR:

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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Yellowstone Wilderness Under Siege

The only reason you can still find wild country in Yellowstone National Park is because people don't go there. Whether it's benign neglect, remoteness or that the park service simply forgot to build a trail into these pockets, it all adds up to tiny, precious and vulnerable wilderness.

The biggest threats today are the Loomis/Bishop Paddling Bill (see Todd Wilkinson link below) and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team who have announced plans to intensify grizzly trapping, snaring and tranquilizing in the most "remote" parts of the Yellowstone ecosystem. This unimaginative practice constitutes unnecessary, highly invasive and unproductive science that has already resulted in many dead bears and at least one killed human. It's simplistic and yeilds no significant data, yet high-tech in that helicopters are used in these most "remote' areas of Yellowstone. When you see a flock of choppers like dragonflies hovering around some distant peak in Yellowstone, you know it's a grizzly trapping operation. And why? The Interagency Team has already unanimously voted to remove federal protections from Yellowstone's grizzlies (Delisting) and all this useless harassment of bears is only aimed at the hope the team's findings will support removing these bears from protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Please bug your favorite official/politician to stop this waste of resources and serious threat to both grizzly bears and the wild habitats they need for survival.

Doug Peacock, Ajo, AZ

See Todd Wilkinson, Paddlers should avoid misusing hero's words (Jackson Hole News)

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