September 21, 2020

Science And Emotion Like Oil And Water

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In Sequim, Washington there’s a herd of 67 elk that is managed by the Washington Fish and Wildlife and the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. The herd is often refered to as the Dungeness herd.

The problem there, like so many other places, is there’s too many animals in too small an area. There’s not enough natural forage so they go eat whatever they can find causing extensive damage to crops and terrorizing people in their automobiles.

But perhaps the biggest problem is for all intent and purposes, the herd is tame. They no longer migrate with any of the other elk and the townspeople have become attached to them.

There was a public meeting held in town and about 100 people showed up most in opposition to the state’s plan to move the herd to the South Olympic Peninsula.

Kurt Grinnell, tribal councilman says the need to move the elk is urgent.

“The long term health of the herd is at stake,” Jamestown tribal councilman Kurt Grinnell said.

In recent years, the elk have stayed on and near farm fields north of U.S. Highway 101 instead of following natural migration paths, so they don’t mix with other herds.

“The longer the wait, the worse off they will be,” Grinnell said.

“They won’t know how to forage . . . and as people move in, their range gets smaller.”

The mayor of Sequim pledged his support for a reasonable elk management plan that specifies moving the elk outside city limits.

Now the fish and wildlife officials are reconsidering the move. Are you kidding me? Does science have a role in determining what is best for wild animals anymore? Because people think it’s fun to drive around in their cars and look out their back windows and see wildlife, this is reason to leave the elk where they are? Whatever happened to the old fashioned way of getting off your overgrown backside and out of your padded air conditioned automobiles and taking a walk in hopes of seeing some wildlife?

It is absolutely unbelievable how people are thinking these days on all sides of issues like this. Out of selfish greed, people are willing to jeopardize the lives of 67 elk in order to have fun seeing them act like cattle. Whoopeeeeeeeee!

It is just as unbelievable that scientists would do the same thing. It is understandable when there are more options available to them and they need to decide on one but it is my understanding that the only option scientifically available to them is where to move the herd.

I am totally fed up with people who want to live in an overgrown zoo with animals living in their back yards that don’t belong there. They don’t even know what a wild animal is or how it is supposed to act. They think bears are to be petted and deer hand fed. Educators are teaching our kids that animals have emotional feelings like humans and that we should co-exist at the same level. Oh, puleeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzeeee!

The longer the people believe this, the more troubles just like this we all will be facing. In our attempts to restore certain wildlife species and protect them we are creating an evil monster that threatens the animals we are trying to protect.

Science has to trump emotion. A trained wildlife biologist should know what is best for an elk more than Mr. and Mrs. Suburbia who want to dance with elks.

Wildlife officials cannot cave in to the public outcry when they know what has to be done. It must stop.

Tom Remington

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