Great News For Grizzly Bears And Ethically-Minded People

With all the news that blew up last week over the Supreme Court nominee it allowed for less time to take note of items which truly need to applauded.

Such as this one.

A Montana federal judge returned Yellowstone-area grizzly bears to Endangered Species Act protection Monday, permanently blocking hunting seasons in two states.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled to reverse a United States Fish and Wildlife Service decision to remove the protections and canceled the first grizzly bear hunt in the continental United States since 1991.

That is simply the best news possible about this whole sad episode.

I read and heard that there was such outrage over the proposed hunt that grizzly enthusiasts applied for the tags in places like Wyoming to help protect the bears.  One of the tags was obtained by a wildlife photographer who stated the only thing he was going to shoot of the bear would come from the lens of his camera.

Grizzly bear numbers in and around Yellowstone have improved since the animals were protected in 1975. But they are still threatened by isolation from other grizzly populations, loss of key food sources, and human-caused moralities.

It would have been monstrous if the proposed trophy hunting would have been allowed to proceed.  Overall grizzly bears occupy less than 4 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states.

Hunters never care about such facts.  They only like to shed blood of innocent animals.

Well, not this time Bubba.

 

 

Margaret Thatcher And The Panda Bear

There is so much to enjoy in Britain’s National Archives!

Mrs. Thatcher reacted to a letter asking to fly a panda in the back of her Concorde in 1981. CreditCrown copyright, via National Archives UK

I’m not taking a panda with me,” Mrs. Thatcher scribbled on a memo about the financial struggles of London Zoo. “Pandas and politicians are not happy omens!”

The note came after the president of the zoo, Lord Zuckerman, contacted Mrs. Thatcher through a cabinet minister with a plea for financial help. Lord Zuckerman proposed that Mrs. Thatcher take a panda “in the back of her Concorde” on her first visit with President Ronald Reagan.

The trip would have been a chance for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington to borrow London’s male panda to mate with its female panda. But Mrs. Thatcher was having none of it.

Grizzly Bears Under Attack From Trump Administration

I have never had a pet, other than the goldfish I won as a kid at the Waushara County Fair.  But I have a caring spot for animals large and small.  There is no other animal, however, I truly love more than the bear populations–with the grizzlies at the top of that list.  So the news over the past weeks of the Trump Administration targeting these grand animals has been very concerning to me.

Today the Center for Biological Diversity delivered more than 55,000 postcards from across the country today urging the Trump administration not to remove Endangered Species Act protections from Yellowstone’s grizzly bears.

The Center had originally planned to deliver the postcards to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, but the Department of the Interior refused to accept them or communicate with the Center’s organizers. So instead today they were delivered to the headquarters of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Grizzly bear numbers in and around Yellowstone have improved since the animals were protected in 1975. But they are still threatened by isolation from other grizzly populations, loss of key food sources, human-caused mortalities and, of most concern, proposed trophy hunting by the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming if protections are removed. Overall grizzly bears occupy less than 4 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states.

In addition the revolting news that congress voted to allow trapping, baiting, and aerial shooting of wildlife such as grizzly bears on Alaska’s refuges is simply numbing.  How lost, soulless, and filled with bile must one be to kill a grizzly at any time–let alone from a plane?

This nation is in a most sorry place.

Hungry Bears Circle Russian Town, Locals Not Amused

I think this would be a sight to see, but then that is just me.

I love bears, and while many across Wisconsin and elsewhere have seen a bear rather up close in the wild I have not. Lord knows I have tried.   On my trek to Alaska I only was only able to see one at a great distance, and that did not count.  It was too far away to share the sugar cubes I had placed in my pocket for such a sighting.   (James would say at this moment “If only Gregory was kidding!”)

Anyway, I think the fear of bears is over-played.  They do need to be respected for the power and purpose they have when protecting their young and when hungry.  But they also want to be wary of us as most of us want to be with them.

So it was with great interest I read today about a Russian town that seems paralyzed with fear about many bears that have come in search of food.

Dozens of hungry bears have besieged a small town in Russia’s far east, roaming the streets and attacking residents.

In the past month, more than 30 bears have entered inhabited areas in Russia’s Primorsky region, located between China, North Korea and the Sea of Japan. Local authorities have had to shoot at least two animals.

Luchegorsk, a town of 21,000 on the river Kontrovod near the Chinese border, has been particularly affected. Two large bears – a brown bear and a Himalayan bear – are now “ruling over” Luchegorsk, wandering the streets and scaring local people, the Primorskaya newspaper reported. Asian black bears have also been seen, and a further three dozen bears are circling the town, according to other reports.

Local people say they are afraid to leave their homes and that the streets are filled with the sounds of sirens and loudspeakers telling citizens not to go outside for their own safety, VladNews reported. In one case, bears reportedly ransacked bee hives kept by locals. Kindergartens have kept children inside.

 

Bear Hunters In Maine Have Underwear Bunched Over Ballot Measure

There are many ballot measures that various states will consider when voters head to the polls next week for the mid-term elections.  Among the ones I am watching, and perhaps the top one on my list, concerns bear hunting in Maine.

I have always had a deep love of bears and find the way they are hunted in places like Maine to be simply nauseating.

In Maine, a bear hunter where the most permissive rules exist in any of the 32 states where these beautiful animals are allowed to be hunted, can use bait and dogs long with traps to do their dirty deed.  I am not sure what moral compass guides these types of hunters but I am glad I do not need to take their conscience with me when I close my eyes at night.

If you want to be upset over the morals of this type of killing consider that using bait for a bear, that is often on the prowl for food, consists of using typically sugary human food such as doughnuts.   Where is the internal guidance system that says it is OK to lure a bear with something delicious so an animal can be slaughtered?   How is this fun?  More importantly how is this legal?

With some hard work over the past months it is hoped that voters in Maine will ban all of these methods of killing bear.  There is simply no sport–if you wish to use that term–by using these methods when hunting bears.   While the path to victory is uphill as this is after all one of those issues where gun owners and hunters will throw all sorts of money to defeat it–while decrying needing to pay more for schools–we will watch to see what the final numbers are to gauge how to undertake similar measures in other states.

And make no mistake about it–that is what makes hunting groups sweat.

Who Does Not Love A Polar Bear Story?

I do love my polar bears.  Black and brown bears, too.   So when I read this story there was no doubt it had to be posted.

In an ultra ‘Only in Canada’ story, outside trick-or-treating has been banned in a Nunavut town for fear of polar bears, yes, polar bears.

According to the Nunatsiaq News agency, children in Arviat will be trick-or-treating indoors this year to avoid the possibility of running into polar bears on their town’s streets.

The local news source explains that the small town has grown a reputation as the polar bear capital of Nunavut. A point that is particularly true in October, when bears begin to make their fall migration North.

Even this summer, according to Nunatsiaq News, the small town had to issue a rare July warning after polar bears were spotted eating at the local dump and wandering through the community of about 2,300 residents.

First Teddy Bear Goes On Sale 111 Years Ago Today, Feb. 15, 1903

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A grouping of Teddy bears at our home, including one with spectacles, a book, and a nightlight.  The large bear wears my Dad’s hat. The fire marshal is seated on the far left, being camera shy.

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Toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom placed two stuffed bears in his shop window on February 15, 1903, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy.  The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution.

It is rather ironic that the inspiration of the Teddy bear came as a result of Theodore Roosevelt given his hunting expeditions that might be better termed pure slaughters. Legend has it that TR came upon an old injured black bear that his guides had tied to a tree.   Why it was tied to a tree is just horrible in and of itself.  While some reports claim Roosevelt shot the bear out of pity for his suffering, others insist he set the bear free. Political cartoonists later portrayed the bear as a cub, implying that under the tough, outdoorsy and macho image of Roosevelt lay a much softer, more sensitive interior.

Time To Strike Out Wisconsin DNR Funding For Hunters’ Dogs Killed By Wolves

My Republican friends often ask me where I would make cuts in government spending.  There seems to be a belief that liberals only want to spend more, and never trim back government programs.  While I think in large part there needs to be a reordering of our priorities when it comes to our state budget I am also aware there are times when it is totally prudent to just cut out a program.

Such is the case with paying hunters in Wisconsin when a wolf kills a hunting dog.

The front page of the Wisconsin State Journal, thanks to the work of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, was must reading Sunday when a large story took the reader inside the controversial notion that we should compensate the owners of dogs killed by wolves while hunting bears, and other animals.  I was even more astounded when it was reported that a “ total of $19,000 in payments (were paid) after they were convicted of crimes or paid forfeitures for hunting or firearms-related offenses”.    When one of those, Josh Schlosser of Oconto who received money, was contacted for the story he became upset that the matter was making headlines.

Schlosser, by the way, had a 2009 misdemeanor conviction for killing a bear without a license and was fined $2,108.  In addition his DNR hunting privileges were revoked for three years. Still he filed a claim seeking $4,500 for the death of a hound in 2011, and the state paid him the maximum $2,500.

If there is to be any upset feelings from the story it should be coming from the residents of the state who are coming to better understand what is really taking place with these DNR funds.

It would seem to me that hunters are making a choice as to 1) owning hunting dogs, and 2) using them in a fashion that may place them in danger.  While using dogs to tree a bear, in my estimation is unethical and unseemly, it is at the end of the day a decision now allowed to be made by the hunter, though I would like to see it prohibited by law. Therefore any injury to the dog who is taken out into the wilderness to hunt  should not, in any way, be the responsibility of the state to remedy.

Period.

I understand there has been much controversy over the years concerning the DNR decision to expand the wolf population in the state.  One way to temper that outrage was to allow for those who suffered ’losses’ to be reimbursed from a fund that comes from purchasing endangered resources license plates for their cars.  I supported the DNR in both of those instances.  In the past year the funds to pay for this program has originated with the state’s wolf-hunt application and license fees.

But I find it unacceptable that hunters who go out with the mission to kill a bear would bitch and complain if one of their hunting dogs was maimed or killed by a wolf during the hunt.  Might hunting bear without dogs be a more sportsmanlike and competitive undertaking?  Or is the slaughter of an animal the only thing that matters?

The newspaper story points out a very disturbing fact that should unite everyone around the need to eliminate the program.  The DNR program approved more than $80,000 in payments to repeat claimants, meaning those who put dogs in successive situations where they were killed by wolves.

I am fully aware the DNR monies for this matter are small, and one can argue even trivial in the larger context of state issues.  But this issue should concern us based on two ethical perspectives.  The first being the use of dogs to hunt animals such as bears, and then the payment of monies to those who have violated state hunting or firearms laws.

This should be one of those times when both ends of the political spectrum meet and agree to act and strike away the ability of the DNR to pay for such total contrived nonsense.  No other state compensates owners for hunting dogs killed by wolves, and Wisconsin should end the practice this year.

Finally, and once again, Caffeinated Politics thanks the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism for a job well done.