Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prey: The Sequel

So earlier I wrote about hiking in the woods with my dog in an area shared with big predators: wolves, cougars, bears. I chickened out (NOT taking a gun, mind you, just not trekking by myself with my dog there). Now I'm not sure about the wisdom of that choice.

Don't often tear up at the headlines on MSN, but did today as I read "Tigers Nearing Extinction." The ensuing video showed an infared shot of a rare Siberian tiger approaching the camera at night and then, after the same site was razed by a bulldozer, a tiger again approaching the camera. What's going on? Huh?

Maybe the timing was ripe. I'd earlier read a piece about the sad fate of grizzlies in the West, given changes in their wild realm (including those related to climate), human movements closer to them, and states' rights in addressing the "problem." I'd seen earlier a televised interview with the intriguing writer, Doug Peacock, about the importance of predators in the larger scheme of themes, that is, our relationship with the entire planet, the globe that some say we should conquer. My gosh, after all of this, after all of this, I don't know what else to do but cry.

Of course I empathsize with the family of the biologist killed by a grizzly and the sleeping family attacked by the hungry, cub-laden griz sow, and the dog-walker mauled by a black bear in a subdivision. Of course. But the justice of it all seems wrong to me. What were those creatures guilty of besides trying to survive?

I look at my dog. She lives here, comfortably, serenely, arrogantly. She knows all will be provided by the two-legged critters that inhabit the same den. But what about those others, the creatures with DNA not all that different from hers, who are supposed to somehow learn the drifting rules they must follow?

How do they know what they're supposed to do or not do? Not just talkin about the rules of predator/prey; talkin about the rules of land management agencies, depridation payments, hunters' game populations, et al. How do the creatures know that, in years when berry harvests are slight, they should not enter subdivisions, but should high-tail it to the deep woods and find another way to get by? How do they know that humans do not want to be inconvenienced by their ongoing survival needs, even though the means for fulfilling those needs have been changed significantly?

I'm not comfortable being a human being when I read about the line of demarcation of human and predator, not comfortable at all. I live with a golden haired predator and I would hate to think of her being forced to make a survival choice that could result, not in just her demise, but that of her species. I don't know what else to do but cry.

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