Wild Animals

Today at Instapundit, Glenn links to a story on Whistler Canada where black bears have essentially made themselves at home. I think Glenn wants them dead.

He wrote this article on wildness back in 2003. He write about wild animals and preferring to be predator vs prey. Sadly he writes without a whole lot of insight into the problem.

We share this world with wild animals. Sure, we could kill them all but we like a lot of them. We could kill all the predators then, right? Who would that hurt. Well, it hurts the earth.

With the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone, yes there has been cattle killed. But guess what? Aspen are back, birds are coming back, beavers are coming back and coyotes are down. Elk are getting culled, bear are better off and humanity is still filling up the park to see it all. This article on the Yellowstone re-introduction of wolves was written in 2003 when Glenn wrote his article on predators. The changes in Yellowstone were already taking place.

Circle of life.
From Glenn’s column:

In the end, of course, people started to be eaten, and the bureaucracy woke up to a degree. There’s lots of interesting stuff in Baron’s book about ecological change, and the folly of seeking “wilderness” without recognizing humanity’s role in nature, but to me the most interesting behavior isn’t the predatory nature of the cougars — which are, after all, predators — but the willful ignorance of human beings. So many were so invested in the notion that by thinking peaceful thoughts they could will into existence a state of peaceful affairs that they ignored the evidence right in front of them, which tended to suggest that cougars were quite happy to eat anything that was juicy, delicious, and unlikely to fight back.

Yes, there is some ignorance of human beings who think that cougars are big housecats. But there are tons of intelligent humans who think that cougars are a contributing factor to the nature we all like. Estes Park could use a few cougars around just to get the dang elk from napping on your front porch.

Yes, with more predators people need to think. Personally I no longer hike alone and I seldom am out and about at dawn or dusk where mountain lions have been seen. People in Boulder need to keep their cats and little dogs inside at nighttime.
Children need to be monitored while on trails.
Are these things so hard to do that instead we should kill everything in sight?
More people get killed by moose in Alaska every year than wolves yet wolves are getting hunted from airplanes. Why is that?
Because wildlife management is shortsighted.

Yes, kill the bear that killed the 3 year old. Yes, chase them out of town and make it uncomfortable for them to return, but kill, kill them all??

Glenn notes:

The effort to remake the world so that it is safe for predators seems rather odd to me. What sort of person would rather be prey? The sort who lives in upscale neighborhoods, and campaigns against hunting, apparently. I suspect that over the long term this isn’t a viable evolutionary strategy in a world where predators abound.

Nobody wants to be prey. But human beings with faculties for reasoning see that predators are a part of life. A long term strategy of just humans would be, I suspect, pretty ugly.

(ps – Baron’s book is The Beast in the Garden and it’s well worth a read, especially if you live anywhere or go anywhere remotely wild.)

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