So, I’ve been very busy and haven’t gotten into the frame of mind to commit to this blog as much as I should. And I was going to leave this for a bit longer, at least until the ground froze, and get some more “work” done. I’ve refrained from commenting on all sorts of things, though it’s been difficult, but this is way too much.
I’m sorry but I don’t believe the “oh, these savage killer animals–lions, tigers, bears, giraffes and such — are going to kill us all in our beds so we have to kill them all” crap. If you’re stupid, maybe, if you don’t warn everyone and plan well, maybe….
oh, wait, we’re talking about humans, aren’t we? Well, maybe, considering we’re quite stupid and paranoid when it comes to anything we don’t understand and can’t completely manipulate then we’re all ready to shoot it dead, including other people.
But back to the animals. And no, I don’t believe Hanna’s crap about “can’t tranquilize animals at night”. I bet they didn’t even try. He’s giving the cops and crew an excuse to shoot things, and I bet he knows it. Or perhaps he hasn’t listened to the North American Bear Center‘s Lynn Rogers contention that the old mantra “A fed bear is a dead bear” is wrong. So, if these animals were fed on Monday, chances are they weren’t particularly hungry and probably not that dangerous (at least the bears) unless they were scared. If a bunch of gun toting Ohio policemen came calling and swaggering up to me I’d be scared, too. I’ve seen cops in action when it comes to “conservation” and yes, they’d rather shoot first. Then you can go back to the little lady that night and say “Guess what your man did today? He shot a bear/tiger/lion today. Yes,sir, he’s a real man, now, just like Hemingway/British Royalty/Great White Hunter. Was I scared? Hell, no. I got this big gun, see? Just like Ted Nugent. Nothin’s gonna fuck with me. I may never get to Africa/India but I’m still a real man! Now give me some honey.”
Yeah, these guys exist. I live in a whole friggin’ region of them. And I’ve read the commentaries by various Americans defending the Sheriff’s actions. No, I agree they are not trained for this sort of thing, but I tend to think that cops in general are not really trained for a lot of these things these days, and that shoot first ask questions later has become a mantra. Maybe the States is more “dangerous” now, but that means you have to be a better people and relying on killing what you don’t understand, on what you fear, is a short term solution. I could say that happens to be a whole American ideology, but considering the American exceptionalism rhetoric going around these days that would just be heaping fresh dirt on an old grave. But if you’re going to be an exception you’d better have an exceptional character, which means courage and moral and ethical fortitude in the face of a difficult situation. Shooting first is instinctual and emotional, not strategic, not thoughtful. I’ve lost human neighbors to hunters shooting first and not thinking, nearly lost my mother once to guys in the dark in the back of a pick-up, until they realized she was on a horse. And, yes, I have more examples, but those are for another time.
And for those who say I don’t know, I’ve been to the African savanna and come face to face with a big male lion who stared across a very thin pane of glass at me like I was an interesting type of fly that might have to be swatted, and that was all. No, bears have nothing on lions, or tigers for that matter–well, polar bears are something else: always remember, punch them in the nose… really, it works, I’m not lying.
Now, maybe you think I’m some sort of free-lovin’, left wing, save the whales “looney”, well, I’ve lived in the bush for DECADES and a lot of animals have died on this ranch for a lot of different reasons, quite a few of them bears. But those bears we shot because they caused more trouble then we could handle, a few of which have tapped on our windows, chased our horses and cows, killed a few calves, went through my parents’ trailer when they first moved up here way back when, are a dismal few compared to the number who we’ve lived with on a very peaceful basis. They eat our grain when we plant it, roll around in it and cause some serious loss sometimes if there’s enough of them, but really we hardly ever see them. We know they’re there, they know we’re here. We keep out of each others way. So, in general, I am completely in agreement with Lynn Rogers’ contention that properly fed bears are quite alright and really want nothing to do with you. This year we have a very cute little one year old black that’s been raiding our wheat fields and a grizzly sow with two cubs that has been hanging around and scared the living crap out of the cow herd that boarded here for the summer, and maybe she or another bear killed a cow and calf (but that’s another story). And there are a few more around (mostly because of the grain) but, though I found a small bear stool in my grain test plots just outside our house, they leave us alone. This is a negotiated peace, though many people might not understand that idea. As bears are territorial we’ve probably had the same ones around here for many years. They haven’t caused any trouble we couldn’t handle. Even when we’ve lost a calf to a bear that is an acceptable loss. We are the invaders here, not them, and, as such, if we want to live in the bush and enjoy a solitude based in nature then we must run the risk of actually encountering nature, real nature.
Around the world humans are wiping out, or trying to wipe out, anything they consider threatening in any manner. So when all the wolves are eliminated from Yellowstone and surroundings the ranchers are happy, when the elephants in Africa trampling crops are again being slaughtered by ivory poachers the farmers get happy. In short, we only want nature our way, forcing it to buckle to our demands without negotiation or recognition of our role as the agent prococateurs. There has always been “human/nature conflict”, it’s one of the great recurring themes in all the world’s literatures and mythologies but it has often been completely overblown, as with the human fear of wolves in North America. How many movies have emphasized wolf attacks only because it reaches deep into our fear (which is why I have little hope for the Liam Neeson movie “The Grey”) when you are more likely to be attacked by the coyote that lives in your park next door who really just wants to eat your cat, or the German Shepherd-pitbull cross that the macho though incredibly insecure idiot across the street has just so he can scare the neighbours (there should be a permit and a psychological check-up for anyone who wants to own a pitbull, rottweiler, or German Shepherd because they are wonderful and very sensitive dogs and require proper love and care that you don’t find in many dog owners, especially those who think they’re “tough” or “mean” and want a dog who they think represents that image).
Back to the point: the release was in a rural area, the animals don’t seem to have gone to far, there were 18,18, Bengal tigers, soon to be extinct in the wild. Yes, it was turning into night, and yes, the animal seemed to have had a rather strange relationship with their “owner” Terry Thompson, him being a gun lover and animal abuser and all, so they might have been somewhat aggressive, but what the heck do you expect? You take the high ground (like, say a truck crane) with a sniper’s rifle with night vision and some darts. Is that so hard? It’s the States, for cripes’ sake, you could probably ask your grandmother for one of her guns. It’s not like the animals are shooting back. They’ll either run away (not very far, by the sounds of it) or claw up the truck a bit before they go down. Big deal. You don’t go meandering through a herd of carnivores and think that it’s a smart thing to do. Heck, you don’t do it in a buffalo or elephant or water buffalo or even the wrong cow herd, why would you think a bear wouldn’t charge you? For a state of rural “hunters” these guys panic way too easy. They don’t know animals.
And don’t me started about how this guy ever even got to keep these animals. If you can’t take care of it properly, you shouldn’t have it. He had 62 years to learn. Animals, like people, need care, love and respect. There’s enough suffering in the world without adding to it this way. Maybe he couldn’t help it psychologically, and maybe he finally came to recognize that and his final gesture was that of freedom for his animals, both from their cages and from him, but it was too late. And that really is a tragedy all round.
And private zoos are the way of the future? I love zoos and aquariums, but it is a guilty pleasure, and there is no doubt things must change to better care for the animals psychologically and physically, and no doubt they won’t, especially when money and profit, based on entertainment and self-satisfaction, is involved rather than science, education, and compassion.
Yeah, well, that’s the world for you….
For those of you who think bears are something that all ranchers (and their herds) fear, or should fear, below is a good example of how things balance out. As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve lost calves to bears, but that was almost always because a cow left her calf while she went to forage or they were in scrub bush, which is perfect ambush territory for a bear. That’s why cows out in the back forty are often tougher than nails because they’ve always got to be on the alert. Anyway, these shots come via a relative’s email from someone who I don’t know down in the Kettle Valley. Many thanks to you, who ever you are, for these fantastic shots. But it’s a very good example of what can happen out on the range or in the front yard. Here we see what looks like a rather inexperienced two year black bear (it’s pretty small) attacking in the open, which is something that I hope it survived and learned from. And yes, I know what that bear’s gone through. There’s nothing like being upside-down under a mad cow. Anyway, on with the show…
Never underestimate a Canadian Cow!!!
Cows taking on a black bear in B.C., Canada.
Now this is some tough beef…
Interesting photos from a ranch in the Kettle Valley , BC area where every year they have to deal with some pretty weird stuff.
This year a bear had been bothering the herd and I guess enough was enough.
A couple of evenings ago, Wayne went out to check the cows and saw a very strange sight and was able to photograph the event.
A black bear approached our cow herd which turned out to be a very big mistake on his part.
The blonde and white Simmental cow we know as I-12 went right for him.
She is a very good cow, a very attentive mother and about 12 years old.
She’s in her prime and knows that bears are bad news.
She tried her best to mash him into the ground.
There are a couple of photos where the bear is biting I-12′s leg and clawing her face but she is not giving up.
Her stiff tail shows how agitated she is.
Wayne said all the cows were bawling, the bear was squealing, the calves were running around with their tails in the air.
A younger cow, R-55, an Angus-Cross cow, age 7, is helping her out as best she can.
It is an incredible photo to see two cows at once trying to crush the bear.
I looked up the calving records of both cows who are so aggressive in these photos and they are both good, calm cows around us
And have given us no troubles whatsoever.
I’ll have to add in my notes that they have a very distinct dislike of bears.
We’ll be watching I-12 over the next few days to see if she needs treatment for infection.
I don’t know how willingly she’ll come to the corrals for treatment, but she might not have a choice.
Finally, the bear decided to vacate the area.
We thought he’d be dead for sure, but there was no sign of him the next day.
We’ll have to keep an eye out for eagles in the trees or flocks of ravens flying up.
We’re sure he’s got some broken ribs out of the deal at the very least.
Wayne couldn’t believe his eyes when he witnessed this ruckus.
This is another once-in-a-lifetime photography event to add to all the others he managed to document thissummer.
It is amazing. Whoever said Cows were stupid are so Wrong….they have a heart and a mind too!