Friday, June 4, 2010

Searching for Hope

Perhaps you remember Hope and Lily, the black bear cub and mother who became an internet sensation after a camera was placed in the den to record the birth of Hope back in January. In the past couple weeks, they have become separated twice. The first time they were reunited by researchers; this time the researchers are still trying to locate and feed the cub but will not try to force a reunion. At only three years old herself, Lily is apparently too young to be a responsible bear mother, and she is also easily frightened by other bears which led to the most recent separation.

Of course, it drives some people crazy when wild animals are treated as individuals. For folks like them, it somehow makes sense to both grieve the death of a hunting dog and also kill other animals. And so we get columns like Sam Cook's in today's Duluth newspaper.

He writes,

"The adult bear seems uninterested in raising the cub, which could reduce its chances of survival. But they are, after all, wild animals, and they should be allowed to live as wild animals."

Except, of course, when we want to kill them.

He continues,

"It’s a debatable practice, this matter of naming wild critters and using them to promote a nonprofit organization. So, for that matter, is feeding them and following them around the woods, which Rogers does under permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"When does a bear become less a subject of research than a creature exploited for its marketability?

"When is a wild animal no longer truly wild?"

Perhaps wild animals are no longer truly wild when the claim is made that the state owns them and has the right to regulate their murder. It's hard to imagine a greater degree of exploitation than that. As researcher Lynn Rogers writes in one of his updates on the bears, it's surprising how many people think it's OK to kill a bear, but not to help one live.

You can follow updates on the bears here.


Northland said...

So true your comments on Cook's article.
I brought a group I was guiding on a dog team trip to the Bear Center in Ely, after their trip was over, this past spring. I signed the petition to influence legislators to make it illegal for hunters to shoot the bears that are radio collared and being studied by researchers, (this happened in front of Bear Center researchers where hunters pulled up on 4-wheelers and shot a bear who had been studied for years).No way will Minnesotans support "research bears" being protected, let alone "wild" bears. Some of the people I know inferred I was a turncoat for supporting the Bear Center. It is the same mentality that supports the destroying of whole wolf packs to supposedly boost caribou and moose herds for human hunters in Alaska.

greentangle said...

Yes, I guess you can't be a good wild animal unless there's a bullseye on your side.

Apropos of nothing except this was an animal post, I can report that elk love dandelion flowers. Got home this afternoon to find one 15 feet outside my window munching away. Soon two more joined her; now they are all gone and so are the hundreds of dandelions.

Sonya said...

I try to avoid reading Sam Cook as much as possible, because nearly everything that he writes makes me want to either make a rude noise and roll my eyes or punch him. It would be nice if the "Outdoors" section of the DNT wasn't just the "Killing Things" section.

greentangle said...

Yeah, unfortunately if a newspaper even has an "Outdoors" section, the ones I've seen have always been geared toward exploitation of, rather than respect for, the outdoors. It would be wonderful to have a section about hiking and natural history without macho dead animal photos.