APPALACHIAN BEAR RESCUE VIA BING IMAGES
“We say these animals have an intrinsic right to exist, but they are also providing economic and ecological services that people value.” ~ William Ripple, Department of Forest Ecosystems, Oregon University
Bears and all beings have an intrinsic right to exist. Killing a bear is as close to killing a human as is possible when killing another species.
I watched an American Indian tribal gathering to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dogs were unleashed on indigenous people standing peacefully to protect sacred land. The judge ruled that the destruction of sacred burial grounds can continue, while a suit on the continuation of the overall project is pending. Laws are often unjust, favoring outdated but entrenched power structures.
I see a lot of parallels in that situation to the constant assault on our peaceful wildlife for the recreation of the most cruel and exploitative humans. There should be outrage over unlimited, unlicensed use of hundreds of packs of dogs to hunt bears on our public lands. Most bears are killed when they are 8 months to a year-and-a-half old.
Rod Coronado of Wolf Patrol writes: “Welcome to Wisconsin… Where You Can Buy a Hound Hunt for Bear on Craigslist… Charging $2,000, this bear hunt guide runs 35-40 bear baits, monitored by trail cameras, with a success rate of nearly 100%.”
This not a hunt. This is a profitable slaughter at a bear donut restaurant. Come in with the semi-automatics and crossbows to the baited area — pick out your target on camera, shoot, and let the dogs have some fun in the killing.
Pick up a stray dog, throw her into wolf territory to be killed, and the DNR will compensate the hunter $2,500 from the Endangered Species Fund. Twenty-five dogs have been killed since bear hounding “training” started July 1.
Is this the state of John Muir and Gaylord Nelson? It is defiled — a state with no moral compass. It is set up to disenfranchise those of us fighting to dignify the sanctity of all life and protect the web of life that sustains us all.
In January 2014, Wisconsin Public Radio interviewed biologist William Ripple about the accelerating decline of the world’s large carnivores and its serious impact on ecosystems. “Nature is highly interconnected,” said Ripple. “The work at Yellowstone and other places shows how one species affects another and another through different pathways. It’s humbling as a scientist to see the interconnectedness of nature.”
Yet we abandon wildlife to paid shills who rationalize maximum killing.
In 1968, Robert Franklin Leslie wrote one of my favorite books, “The Bears and I,” which Disney made into a movie. In writing about adopting three orphan black bear cubs in British Columbia, Leslie said that the American Indians (then) did not kill bears because bears were too much like men. They are intelligent, playful, curious and need their mothers for at least two years. Bears mature faster than humans, and are almost always nonviolent. Therein manifests the moral superiority of bear over man. They are not addicted to violence and killing.
Mother bears will be killed in this month’s hunt, leaving spring cubs to starve. Here is a sweet video of baby bear meets fawn that shows two of the main species killed for recreation in Wisconsin.
And here is Pedals, a grown black bear in New Jersey, who walks upright like a human because she has an injured front paw. Her injury makes her more visible and vulnerable to being killed.
Wednesday, Sept. 7, began another tragic killing spree in Wisconsin, one of many orchestrated by the DNR killing business: the bear kill. According to the DNR website, “The 2016 permit level recommendation (11,520 licenses to kill bears) represents a record number of Class A licenses available to Wisconsin Bear hunters. The last 7 bear seasons represent the 7 highest bear harvests in Wisconsin history. Wisconsin continues to lead the nation with more bear harvested than in any other state. In developing these quotas department staff met with interest groups…”
According to the DNR communications director, the interest groups, largely hunting advocates, included: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Hunters Rights Coalition, Safari Club International, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, USDA Wildlife Services, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and U.S. Forest Service. The reason given for excluding the Humane Society, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and local humane groups, according to the DNR, is that since it is legal to kill bears, only bear killers should be consulted on how many bears are killed, how they are killed, and when and where they are killed on our public lands.
By the same logic, the DNR excludes the 90 percent of citizens who do not kill wildlife from most decisions about our wildlife and use of our public lands, including state parks.
The hypocrisy of this argument is made clear when considering wolves. When the wolf hunt was legalized, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp purged the Conservation Congress’ Wolf Advistory Committee of its humane representatives, including the Humane Society. But now that the federal courts have ruled that killing wolves is illegal and they are protected once again by the Endangered Species Act, shouldn’t the same argument be made to purge the Wolf Committee of killing interests and call in only protective representation? It is not happening. Only killing interests are ever represented in the DNR that rules our so-called “commons.”
Biologist William Ripple and his colleagues are calling for an international initiative to conserve large predators in co-existence with people.
All our bears’ tomorrows depend on your action or continued inaction today. Call your representatives.
Sign and network petition to protect Yellowstone’s 700 grizzly bears from trophy hunting.
This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on September 11, 2016