Requiem for a Sow

The great bears are, for reasons best known to scientists, given the adult names normally used for pigs -- boars and sows -- even though their kit are known as cubs.  Tonight one was put down:
A grizzly bear that fatally mauled a hiker in Yellowstone National Park was killed after DNA evidence linked the animal to the scene of a second hiker's death a month later, a park official said Monday. 
The decision to euthanize the 250-pound female bear was meant to protect park visitors and staff, Superintendent Dan Wenk said. 
However, the investigation remains open, and officials might never know definitively whether the same bear that killed California hiker Brian Matayoshi on July 7 also took the life of John Wallace of Michigan in August. 
Evidence showed multiple bears, including the sow, were near Wallace's body but not if the sow made any contact with Wallace. The bear was allowed to remain free after Matayoshi's death because park officials said it was reacting naturally to defend its two cubs.
They did not grasp the truth behind what Edward Abbey said:  "If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies' territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers.”

These are not dangers to be mitigated, but dangers to be celebrated.  What's the point of a life of easy mastery, without terror or danger?  These are our great friends and allies, who call us to be what we might be:  and if we die, what of it?  We were going to die anyway.


douglas said...

Some among us have a need to perpetuate a myth of safety. Alas, I suppose we must tolerate it to some degree.

Texan99 said...

We've camped for many years in Yellowstone, on horseback with a mule-train way back in the mountains. Bears were a big concern. We were extremely rigorous with food and cookfire discipline. I took the danger very seriously.

I'm not saying I wouldn't shoot to kill a bear to save myself or my husband, but the possibility of a future attack doesn't strike me as a good enough reason to kill a bear. I'd prefer the campers who aren't willing to deal with the risk to stay out and leave the bears alone. It is a park, after all, not a zoo.

E Hines said...

What T99 said.

This is wanton butchery. Killing a bear for being a bear is unacceptable.

Afraid of bears? Don't go where bears are.

Eric Hines

raven said...

I would need to know more. Can we summon Jim Corbett to the stand? or Steve Herrero?
Certainly if a bear has become a habitual campground raider, or is operating outside normal bear parameters (as in hunting and killing humans) it puts a different angle on things.
I have run into a few wild grizzly's in the ANWR , and generally they like to run away asap.
The black bear that trashed my bird feeder this morning is starting to cause some concern, simply because it is repeatedly encountering humans. Sooner or later there is likely to be a scuffle over something or other.