by Stephen Capra
Over the past week, one horrific image* has come to life: one of a mountain lion paw devoid of leg in a steel trap. The paw, is detached from its leg; missing is the animal that fate brought to this trap to suffer. Much like Alan Ralston, the canyoneer who famously cut off his own arm to escape certain death; this animal, without such fanfare, did the same so that it might survive.
Something about that image precedes a horror that haunts from within; it allows pain through the membrane of the mind. Imagine if you can such beauty, such wildness, condemned to such pain, to such fear, by someone with a heart both empty and sallow. Some have said the picture is not real or that it is contrived. Perhaps it may be, but is certainly not a lie. How many paws have been left in traps over the generations, as man sought the fur of an animal? How many animals have been left alone to walk in circles, withering in pain as they slowly die or wait for the person who set up such misery to come and club or shoot them? On such days they may even taunt them for the camera, these people who speak of culture as a means to justify their behavior. Such obstensible actions come from people who see their own life as nothing but torture. How else can one explain a life that finds meaning and purpose in the suffering of wildlife?
Every day, we witness the atrocities of war in the Middle East, in Africa, or with our own police killings. Despite the outrage and frustration, the anger at wasting tax dollars at such destructive practices, they continue and always have the lobbying strength and public ignorance to maintain the status quo. Such is the fate of trappers these days. They continue their killing spree in broad daylight of public awareness, but remain shielded by state Game and Fish Departments, the livestock industry and the meek elected officials that see wildlife not as a being, but rather as a resource which, like land, is there to plunder and evidently in this case, to torture. The Federal government also employs its own agents of death in the form of Wildlife Services, an agency that acts as a retinue for the livestock industry and finds enough support to inflict great harm to any species that does not moo.
For a generation or more, the conservation community has worked to stop the funding for this group of American terrorists, yet they continue to shoot from helicopters, set traps and support a mindset of jihad against predators and other species that define a healthy and diverse ecosystem. Such agents of death must never receive another dollar in tax payer funding, period: they must be shut down now and forever.
Somewhere today in Idaho, a lone mountain lion, one that lost its mother to hunters is trying to live on its own. Lacking certain knowledge the lion will go out to find food, only to be seduced by the scent left on a trap. For that lion the nightmare has just begun. How much longer can we allow such savagery? How much longer can we allow ignorance and evil to be handed down from one generation to the next?
I want that paw freed from the trap, I want that paw and leg reunited, I want that lion to live and thrive! We will lose our soul without wildlife thriving in our lives. With corporations now considered people, we have already lost our heart. This paw represents all that is wrong with managing wildlife and reminds us once again that people, not wildlife, MUST be managed, if we are to live in balance and begin to grasp the power of harmony in our lives.
Recently, Bold Visions Conservation, with some of the West and Mid-West’s most important conservation groups, ones without annual budgets in the millions, but rather groups that work on bold ideas and on the frontlines and get results to create and form Wolf Action Coalition. The idea was that we must begin to educate and break down the cancer that is killing our planet. One such cancer is USDA’s Wildlife Services and all those that support trapping as an acceptable lifestyle; it is their mindset that allows grizzly images of a lion’s paw in a trap. It is same mindset that legitimizes livestock grazing as a legitimate use of public lands. It is such a mindset that rewards ignorance and our responsibility to ensure all animals the right to coexist on this planet.
In the months ahead you will learn more about the Wolf Action Coalition, we will ask for your support when we take actions to protect wolves and to demand an end to all trapping in America. We will call out elected officials that support not just trapping but the selling off of our public lands. We want them to become familiar names to you and likewise we want you to become a familiar name to them!
Together, we can make a difference and be a voice for those creatures that depend on our determination.
Open your eyes so your heart can flow….
Bold Visions Conservation