by Stephen Capra, Executive Director, Bold Visions Conservation
As the clocks go backward, the symbolism cannot be lost on the two states we work to protect. Wolves are being slaughtered, and bison will soon meet the same fate, yet our voice is considered radical. Like other times in human history, we are witness to the many who ignore the pain and suffering of, in this case, wildlife, to an old-school prejudice based on ignorance.
I often wonder how so many people can be so incurious? People seem to want to kill that, which reflects wonder, and what I do not understand is why so many simply do not want to relate to a wild animal but instead want to dictate fate with a dead one. They want to track and bait, to wait in a tree or chase with hounds rather than observe and take a photo and enjoy the magic of an encounter, rather than pose with a previously beautiful, now dead, animal that is a statement in their minds of their power and control. This is the brainwave of a fool.
Perhaps my biggest frustration is the wise and beautiful wolf meeting its demise on a cold winter day, caught in a trap, its freedom cut down by those whose lives are void of control but exert their defiant act of control on another living being; this one full of beauty and hope.
I know these are but musings.
Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
Bold Visions Conservation continues to work for all wildlife, to work on what are tough goals, and do so because we must think big. Our campaigns are neither simple nor easy, but if achieved, they can break the anti-conservation and wildlife measures that dominate both states. It's not because we are arrogant; it comes back to one basic fact: our love and experience in wilderness across the West and our passion for wildlife. Those encounters in the wild define the heart and soul of an organization. We do not want a one-gallon bowl to have fish in; we want a large, vast area for them to thrive; such is the principle of protecting lands not just for land but for wildlife.
The signs are everywhere of Climate Change, as are the changes to the earth, yet oil companies are merging so they can frack more and destroy more of what sustains our planet. They remain focused and arrogant; we can only respond with boldness and determination, keeping them off our public lands. Hunters continue to kill for trophy in the American West and across the globe. Trappers control the Idaho and Montana legislatures, and we have no time to conform or sit and collaborate; we must break the suicide cycle of grabbing our share of what is left. We must work and act as though, in unison, we can stop the madness and preserve for generations to come the wonders we have been blessed with. It's not a mission nor a pep talk; it is a responsibility. Our National Monument campaign moves forward south of Bozeman, one that would protect 1.6 million acres, the only portion of lands coming out of Yellowstone that lack protection. We are now beginning to sign up businesses in Bozeman and Livingston that support this goal. We are talking to Tribes and working with Garrick Dutcher of Living with Wolves on this and our efforts to make 500,000 acres off-limits to trapping and wolf hunting in Idaho. Again, these are not easy campaigns, but they need to be fought if we are to break the cycle of violence being waged not just against wildlife but our public lands. Our sportsmen group is up and running and, as I mentioned last week, is named Hunters in Defense of Predators, defenseofpredators.org. We are working across the board to bring change to an entrenched system, one which requires complete reconstruction. From rebuilding state wildlife agencies to protecting public lands, there is serious work to be done. We can only do so with your support.
Please consider a donation to Bold Visions Conservation. Every donation will be matched 100% by a supportive donor. Thank you for being so supportive, and let's work to make changes in Idaho and Montana because we love and want the best both for the wildlife and the stunning lands that define the Northern Rockies. It's a long road to hope, a place of co-existence and perhaps a transcendence in our relationship to the land and wildlife. Good things never come easy, but working together gives us all the courage for success.