Change

Change
Turning Over New Leaf

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sometimes, Success is Bittersweet

bear

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.
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20 comments:

  1. A woman in Tucson was arrested recently for feeding javelinas. She had been doing it for years, and finally got caught.

    As for the white-tail deer, their habitats have become smaller because of urban sprawl, and many are dying of starvation because of overcrowding. They resort to eating pine straw, which they cannot digest.

    I used to feed the birds until my patio became so nasty with dove poop. Plus, the seeds draw pack rats, which in turn draw snakes. I stopped feeding the hummingbirds because the feeders were drawing killer bees.

    Now, the only animals I feed are my two dog-children.

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  2. It's hard because so many people love animals that they almost love them to death... I don't think they realize the trouble that can come of all of this 'loving'. Maybe a campaign to educate...to show how leaving the animals alone may be the most loving thing of all.
    I just know I shake my head at the stories of people who get hurt every year in Yellowstone National Park trying to get pictures with wild animals in the background.

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  3. T-R Jasmine - I totally agree! Educate them to understand what their 'lovin' is doin! Of course, there are those who'll ignore the educators thinking they know best, or because they're not loving the animals at all - they just want the animal attention and care little about the impact it is having longterm. Perhaps they're on holiday and care only for the few weeks they are there. After that, who cares?

    Shah. X

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  4. It's horrible to see this, but I'm aware it happens. I'm in Florida, and wouldn't dream about feeding a gator. They do get too comfortable and end up in someone's pool or yard. They are usually put to death when this happens.

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  5. I completely agree. But may I add another sore subject for me. Mourning Doves. They are one of the prettiest birds (with a lovely song) to me, and yet Minnesota and other states have decided that we should also have them served on a plate. Is this why I rarely get a Mourning Dove to fly in, just like my other fave bird, the Killdeer, who also sings softly..Killdeer, Killdeer, but with a much nicer song...I used to see loads of these when we first moved out here to the wilderness (sort of) okay hobby-farm/farms (also disappeared mostly) the killdeer would just lay their eggs right in a rough patch of the grass next to a few stones...nothing too overstated, but I rarely see one now....yes JJ what you say is happening in so many ways......sadly for all of us....soon our cameras can snap a mere statue of these lovely creatures that once roamed our earth...pretty sad indeed.

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  6. Yep, man messes with nature waaay too much!

    C x

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  7. Yes I agree too. We love animals and should respect their way of live without interfering at all.

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  8. It appears we agree. I do want to comment on what Jasmine said about Yellowstone. It is so true. Every year, they have around a hundred bear attacks. Tourists feed the bears as though they were ducks in a pond. Every so often, a tourist decides one bear ate his fair share and cuts him off, so to speak. That works with ducks that simply swim away. Bears eat until they decide they are finished. If a tourist is injured in the process, the bear is sometimes put down. This is a pity.

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  9. I feel the same way, wildlife should be respected and left alone. I won't even put up a bird feeder in the trees of my yard (no, I don't look down on people that do), for fear of one day not being able to put food in it anymore and the birds starving - having lost the ability to fend for themselves and having depended on that food. Believe it or not, it happens a lot and people may not realize it.
    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  10. We as a species feel so free to interfere--with animals, weather, forests and rivers, and even our neighbors. It seems to be a point of pride that we can manipulate everything from genes to satellites. That we can doesn't mean we should.

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  11. Galen: We told ourselves we reign supreme.

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  12. Good to meet you, JJ. I noticed your upcoming Credit Ernest Hemingway. I'm looking forward to reading it!

    On this post: I agree. Those "Please, don't feed the animals" signs are there for a reason. Why we think we know more than the people who put them there is beyond me.

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  13. Jo: I agree. Thanks for the follow. The book will probably be out this summer.

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  14. Hi JJ .. I agree .. and I'd add about all the 'accidentally' released pets because the owner can't manage anymore .. eg the pythons in Florida, and parrakeets in London and surrounds ..

    The other thing is that humans don't realise that there is an inter-relationship between all species of earth .. and we need them all.

    We don't always get things right .. but we can give experts the benefit of the doubt - and our own common sense too .. if you brought a baby to your holiday cottage and the bears appeared for food - then attacked the baby .. whose fault?

    Sadly humans don't think ... great post - Hilary

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  15. Very interesting post. I've never tried to feed a bear but it's good to learn this. I wish human beings had more compassion and respect for all creatures and the planet. I am glad I found your blog, by the way.

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  16. Hilary: I agree wholeheartedly!

    Julia: I could not agree more. Thank you for the follow!

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  17. Hi JJ - thanks very much .. that makes my life easier and saves a little time.

    Have a great year and thanks for following and commenting .. cheers Hilary

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  18. I agree about letting nature do it's thing. Chemicals ..... massive problem. All the spraying knocks out a species and that upsets the balance of the whole system.

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  19. Manzi: I agree. If we sprayed and destroyed all the ladybugs on our planets, the aphids would consume all the vegetation. Humans think they are gods. Render unto Caesar...

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