Alright, ya’ll, here’s the deal. We have GOT to stop assuming that everything on this earth is ours for the taking. Knock it off. Time out. Go to your room.
I recently read an article by another writer (Keith R. Crowley, wildlife photographer) on wordpress.com discussing the hiker by the name of Lance Crosby who was killed by a bear this past week in Yellowstone Park. He reiterates in his article that the hiker went off trail, ended up getting mauled by a bear and was a bit…well…eaten as well, unfortunately. The bear, who goes by the name of Blaze by the officials at the park, had been exposed to other humans around her and her 2 cubs in the past and did nothing. No one can really know what happened this time around as the man killed was hiking alone.
Now that you know the facts, I’ll begin my severely opinionated response.
Ok, so I understand that the family of this man is probably very upset. If it were me or any of my family members I would definitely be in the same boat. My father half eaten and buried for future meals by a wild bear?! I couldn’t imagine how I would feel. But, I also have to consider one important word in that sentence. Wild. That bear was wild. It is a wild animal, which means it cannot be taken lightly, it could kill you, it only lives primarily on instinct. There’s no way you can know what it’s thinking, when it’s last meal was, how threatened it felt at the time, what it could have been doing to protect its cubs. There can be absolutely no way of knowing what was going on in that bear’s head. Any wild animal has a right to be so.
It would be no different if I had been bitten by a shark when I was surfing in Venice Beach, California. We are in their territory, their home, it does not belong to us and never did. Nor will it ever belong to us. Some people are with me on this, but others feel that as long as we put up a big fence and make a big pretty sign we can call anything ours with the help from government cash-flow. No. Nuh uh.
Please tell me we have more intelligence than to suggest that we rule this planet. I don’t know where we got this idea that we can pretend we own something that was generous enough to give us a chance, the most miniscule 1 in a million chance of survival, to even begin to live on this planet. People, Government, Country, Homo Sapiens: Grow the fuck up. Learn to have a little bit of gratitude for things that were presented for us to appreciate, not claim for our own.
If I describe a scenario to you the whole story about the hiker will seem so fickle and unnecessary. Let’s say you’re in your house with your two young children. You’re minding your business, you feel safe in the comfort of your home. Then a man, whom you’ve never seen before, walks into your home unannounced. How would you feel? Would you feel threatened? Yes. And you would immediately think of your and your children’s safety. Boom, you grab for your gun (as almost every person in our sad country has one these days) and you kill him. Self defense, intruder on personal property, case dismissed. Now lets look at it this way. So you shoot the man, and then the authorities think you shouldn’t have shot him so they kill you and put your kids in foster care. Uh, what? Yeah that would never happen.
Now lets talk about the “being eaten” part. A lot of people know that once an animal gets a taste for human flesh it will begin to hunt for them. There are instances where people believe this to be true with dogs and dog bites, sharks and shark bites, etc. I understand where the officials were coming from when they decided that the bear could no longer live in that area as there are frequent cars and hikers in Yellowstone. But, lets take this bit of information and use it. Our population is growing rapidly, and animals have nowhere to go. We build a city and expect the animals to know that they’re not welcome here, and that they should retreat into something less scary to them. Less threatening. But if we continue to expand our city, where the hell do these people expect all the animals to go? Any animal that strays into “our” city is killed on the spot, but why? We evolved from animals. Australopithecus Africanus, Homo Habilis, Pithecanthropus Erectus, “Lucy”. We grew to be the species we are after the animals have already been here, and then we build all this SHIT and kick animals out. Like we own this place. Take the mountain lion that was shot to death in Omaha, Nebraska. The mountain lion had a broken leg and was literally lying down, not moving, when the police opened fire and killed the animal. They shot the animal 16 times. 16. Times. They claim that tranquilizing it wasn’t an option because they would have had no idea how the animal would react. Right, so you prepare in advance for possibilities on how the animal would react. You put up a road block, you move people away from the threat, you take the necessary precautions. Hell, I’ve seen construction workers with beer guts and orange cones do a better job redirecting people than these cops with guns and their “expert” consulting.
PEOPLE. Our population is growing, to our unfortunate downfall, and we cannot keep pushing the animals out. They were here first. The bear in that park tasted human flesh. Why do we not study this? Why do we not try to find a way to work with the animal and figure out why it acted that way? Animals do crazy things when they’re starving to death. Take the Polar Bear filmed by Planet Earth’s amazing film crew, for instance. In the last hope of finding food he attacked a full grown Walrus only to gain substantial tusk stab wounds and no meal. He died from starvation and injury. Was there enough food for her in Yellowstone Park or was the Bear reacting the same way the Polar Bear did? Was it cause and effect? When was the last time she had eaten? Could we have started a sort of study to deter the animal from eating human flesh again, and retrain the animal to return to its normal diet and eating habits? (I know it’s a wild animal, but we work with wild animals to do certain things such as mate and relocate to help their species population without exposing them to [too much if any] human contact.) There are so many other options that could have been taken into consideration. But instead of weighing these options, and possibly figuring out if the food sources in Yellowstone need to be evaluated, the bear was killed leaving two orphaned cubs. (I take into consideration that no conservationist really wanted to kill Blaze. I only wish they could have thought against the normal protocol. With our cities expanding, we can’t just keep killing an animal that may act out of “regulation”. We are destroying habitats left and right and need to begin a process that could prevent further things like this, or at least a study to possibly influence the animal to no longer consider human flesh as a dietary option.)
The cubs are now to be raised in captivity. We orphaned these cubs and now we are putting them in a zoo for the rest of their life. WHY?! Raise them at a wildlife refugee center and release them into the wild when they’re old enough. We have the ability to do this. Monitor them, make sure they are ok to live in the wild. We are such hypocrites. We get so upset when the Congolese Rebels shoot the Mountain Gorillas in Virunga leaving their infants without mothers to be raised in captivity. We lost our shit when Walter Palmer left Cecil’s cubs to fend for themselves. But as soon as a bear in the wild kills a man on our turf: Oh yes, foster the children. We are seriously the biggest pieces of shit on this planet. I quote Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain, “Every piece of this is Man’s bullshit. They call this war “a cloud over the land” but they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say “Shit, it’s rainin’!”
We have saved so many lives since medicine has sky rocketed and I’m not bashing the lives we have saved, it’s a miracle that we are lucky enough to breathe through an experience that could have killed you, but Natural Selection is plummeting. Why do you think we get so tense when a disease starts killing off hoards of people? Because Natural Selection has to be maintained, and we get scared of that reality check that we are not invincible. We do not own this planet. Mother natured does. And she will tell us so when a disease mutates and takes hold of our lives. We need to realize that we are not immortal. We can’t keep pretending that we are. Natural selection needs to happen in order to keep our species sharp. It happens to animals in the wild. Species’ are maintained by the demand of food and the necessity of male mating/territorial habits. The old and weak and the overpopulated young are usually moderated by hunting. We need to be hunted, as gruesome as that sounds it’s true. We cannot keep taking over this planet. It will just become a wasteland.
Wise up people. It’s time to start realizing that just because we are at the top of the food chain doesn’t mean that something can’t deteriorate our existence just as easily as we took it from that bear in Yellowstone. I hope that my pursuit in a Wildlife Biology and Pre Veterinary Science degree next year will help all living things have a chance, because I’m sick of the disgusting clout we continue to think we have. It’s time to change that mentality. It’s time to treat everything with equal respect.