Pressing an Agenda

Recently, it has been reported that captures of errant grizzly bears has hit a new record here in Wyoming. As of August 27, 38 grizzlies have been captured. Four were euthanized because of human safety concerns. Most were captured because of conflicts with livestock. Some of these bears have been captured more than once. All of these bears were captured outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.

Earlier this summer we were warned of the possibility of more grizzly conflicts due to habitat degradation, primarily because of the tremendous decline in whitebark pine trees, a major factor in prime grizz habitat. This loss of habitat has forced more bears into lower elevations to search for food, thus more human and livestock confrontations. The whitebark pine decline is due to the epidemic of bark beetles killing thousands of acres of trees across the west. So-called conservation groups have prevented us from managing these trees—cutting, spraying and such—arguably exasperating the infection. Now they want to prevent management of the grizzlies by returning them to the Endangered Species List.

These people don’t care about trees, grizzlies or anything else, except their wallet and authority over people. Every time we allow the politicizing of wildlife management (or anything else, for that matter), the resource and our freedom bear the brunt of the impact. What is at stake for these people are careers and livelihoods. I am reminded of the scene in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” where the character Fletcher says, “It’s over, it ends right here.” To which Capt. Redlegs sneers through his scruffy red beard, “Fighting evil is never over…” The perversion of a cause for the pleasure of some of those involved with it is deplorable whether coming from a murderous reconstructionist or a self-absorbed, self-styled wildlife expert.

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