Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Montana Rules Against the Grizzly

In a stunning move, a Montana Senate committee heard a proposal last week to change state policy and say that the grizzly population is sufficiently healthy in order to allow trapping and killing of the bears to limit conflicts with people and livestock. With public pressure due to the increased loss of sheep and farm animals to the bears, Republican Senator Debby Barrett is calling for the removal of federal protections for the grizzly so that a certain number of the bears can be killed as part of new management practices. She says that due to the growing number of grizzlies in the state, such policy is necessary. At the recent proposal hearing, none of the bill's opponents even bothered to speak against it.

Is this really necessary? With the great number of animal sanctuaries around the world, can't so-called problem bears be sent to some of those places rather than trapped and destroyed? Several states have had near 100% success rates in using supplemental feeding to deter rogue black bears from neighborhoods, so why can't the same be done for hungry grizzlies? Charlie Russell tried it on his ranch in Alberta to keep grizzlies away from his livestock and his attempts were successful! But, hey, why put some actual thought and creativity into wildlife management practices - and dare to defy the old ideologies - when the standard boneheaded techniques are such crowd-pleasers? Then again, maybe I just don't know what I'm talking about.

Either way, I'm compiling some of this information and alternate solutions and will be mass e-mailing it soon. I'm also going to see if I can get some thoughts from Doug Peacock on this situation, since Montana is his home state. I'll post any responses as soon as I receive them. Meantime, you can read the full article here: http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/article_3cce9b0e-234b-11e0-ae79-001cc4c03286.html?mode=story

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