by Stephen Capra
I awoke early this morning, with my mind running from the dream I just had experienced. Yes, experienced, for there are no other words for the sense of running with 200,000 bison on an open plain, or sliding down a snowy embankment with a grizzly, or wrestling with the pack, as my wolf family rejoices from a fresh kill. For in my dreams all animals are wild and free, they have land to roam, and rivers to swim, families to create, and battles to be waged. In a dream state, things can be free and joyous, scary and intense, but sadly for the wildlife that I and so many love and respect; life is not a dream, and the reality can be cruel and foolish, driven by those void of heart, and intellect.
In our modern world of oil derricks and spills, of housing developments and mines, leaking nuclear power plants and plastic filled oceans, we have allowed our priorities to devolve. Nowhere is that more apparent, then in the plight of wildlife, the world over. So many heartbreaking stories of destroyed innocence, cruelty, and tradition that leaves animals the losers to people who themselves are losers. If I see one more image of a killed giraffe in Africa, or a young girl proudly holding a dead wolf pup she killed with an arrow, I may myself go nuclear!
Which takes me to Wyoming and the cancer that is Game and Fish Departments across this country and something Bold Visions Conservation has for so long written about and worked in New Mexico to reform. This past week, I received an email from Richard Spratley, who informed me of the latest act of outright unexplainable actions taken by the bloodthirsty and corrupt organization known as Wyoming Game and Fish. You could remove the word Wyoming and easily insert Montana, Idaho, New Mexico or Nevada, or go east and say South Carolina. There are 50 states and 50 departments like this that generally live in a 19th century mindset as it relates to predators and conservation in general.
The latest and cruelest example involves a 4 year old grizzly, whose only crime was being too comfortable around humans. This was a Grand Teton National park study bear (760), I prefer to call him Moccasin, because I hate calling animals by numbers, that alone are designed to remove feeling. As a sub-adult, Moccasin showed up near an inhabited area. The park, fearful of an incident, moved him to an area with the highest concentration of grizzlies in the Yellowstone-Teton region. Being a sub-adult he had virtually no chance of survival at this location.
With no resources or food, Moccasin wandered looking for food and trying to establish his new territory. Over time he came out to the sage flats around Clark, Wyoming where he discovered unsecured and low hanging deer carcasses a hunter put in a tree and instinctively claimed it for his own. When the property owner saw this occurring, he called Wyoming Game and Fish. You know the rest of the story. With little thought or planning Game and Fish snared the bear and euthanized him. This occurred less than three weeks after the bear was tranquilized and moved from the park, where he had displayed no aggressive behavior. The bear had no strikes against him, yet Game and Fish as they do with wolves and any predator jumped at the chance to kill!
This is not action in the best interest of wildlife. It reflects people with an agenda to appease hunters, to make game in the wild resemble deer and elk farms, and for Moccasin, that meant a death sentence without a jury, without common sense. Many people are angered by this. Richard Spratley has set up a petition and we are asking that you sign it and to speak out about the continued ignorance of Game and Fish departments across this nation who are supposedly a friend of wildlife; but in reality are simply stooges for ranching and oil and gas interests, not to mention the pawns for those who kill for pleasure.
Wildlife is perhaps our greatest gift. Animals will one day be given the status as equals on our planet, but the question is how much are we prepared to lose? To kill a grizzly is an act of such cruelty that it defies our moral consciousness. Some will say it was a matter of time before the bear charged a person. For me, Moccasin was a victim of an agency and a society that is lost, one that needs to stop all aspects of the word war. For when we allow war to be waged, it penetrates our soul. Such war is waged daily not just in Afghanistan, but in the lives of animals across the world. We cannot save everyone or punish each person responsible for such maladies. But we can take a stand for the bear we call Moccasin. This beautiful bear was trying to live in a world not focused on human needs and too busy battling Black Fridays to allow room for the life of such a special creature to co-exist. It is simply shameful.
Do your part to fight this stupidity and let Wyoming Game and Fish know that killing any bear is simply not acceptable and please sign the petition today!
Bold Visions Conservation