Monday, January 2, 2012
Sometimes, Success is Bittersweet
People have put a great deal of time, energy, and money into preserving wildlife in the USA, and I think that is terrific. What I have a problem with is tourist and do-gooder intervention. Leave them alone and they won’t need saving.
Visitors to New England feed bears. Visitors to Florida feed alligators. Many locals in both states do the same. The sad part is that bears and gators have few predators, and the more they get used to the presence of humans, the more likely they will be shot.
For example, vacationers with second homes in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania leave scraps of food lying around to bait bears for photo opportunities. Some even spread peanut butter on the decks of their homes to draw in hungry critters from the woods. The more they intrude, the more they run the risk of re-endangering a species.
The same holds true of white-tailed deer and wild turkey. At the turn of the 20th century, they had been hunted to near extinction. Now, through efforts to save their respective species, the deer, for example, are so plentiful that they have been dubbed “hoofed rats” in the East. Auto accidents increase each year, and man is once again looking for ways to cull their numbers.
Personally, I would have left them alone a hundred years ago, and I leave them alone now, but I share the planet with 7.5 billion others.