We haven't had a good rant around here for awhile now. It's been at least a week or two since anyone has pissed me off, and that just won't do, now will it?
First off, let me say that I am a hiker. I looove to be out in the forest, up in the trees, communing with nature. So I'm not bashing hikers, just dumb ones who report "problem bears" in remote, wild areas.
This morning on the local public radio, I heard a story about how the rangers at Glacier National Park are "going to have to shoot and kill" a 17 year old grizzly sow. Has she eaten anyone? No. Has she been going into campgrounds and tearing apart camp sites? No. Has she been terrorizing a neighborhood and getting into trash cans? Nope.
Her only offense is that she is not afraid of people. People who hike far into the back-country of one of the most wild places in the world. People who set up their tents in the midst of a gigantic huckleberry patch. What do wild bears eat this time of year, as they prepare to go into hibernation? That's right, huckleberries. So because hikers go into this bear's "kitchen" so to speak, and she doesn't run in fear, she is going to be shot. The interactions have never resulted in any confrontations, let alone injury. The "incidents" have ALL taken place 7-10 miles from the nearest campground or paved road.
This infuriates me. I'm all for people being able to go into the back-country and have their experience, but if there is a problem with a WILD ANIMAL in that animal's habitat, shouldn't the people be controlled, and not the animal? After all, the people have a choice about going into the back-country. The bear does not.
I feel the same way about people who build their dream homes "out in the country" and then, when a mountain lion or a wolf eats little FiFi, they want the Fish & Game to come trap the "offender" and remove it or worse, kill it. If you don't want interactions with wildlife, don't build your house outside the city! Because that's where the animals live, people!
Where is the common sense here? Why do we believe that we are entitled to haul our sleeping bags, food and trash into these wild places, that it is ALL our domain? That we should be able to have our wilderness experience, but without all those pesky wild animals?
It's all about risk. If you are willing to take the risk of going into those remote, wild places, then you must accept the consequences WITHOUT COMPLAINT. It's called "survival of the fittest", and if you get mauled or eaten by a bear, well then, you were someplace you weren't supposed to be, now weren't you?
What do you think about this? Should people take precedence over wild animals? Do we have a "right" to wander safely through the wildnerness without any risk?
**UPDATE: The grizzly sow was shot and killed today, about an hour or so ago, as she approached a back-country campground.
She had two cubs with her. One of the cubs died after being shot by a tranquilzer gun; the other is being sent to the Bronx Zoo. They should have just shot him too.