September 25, 2020

Are We Making a Big Mistake Protecting All These Animal Species?

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I grew up in the woods of Maine. It seemed everyday I was in the woods and at least adjacent to them. I rarely saw the wild animals that everyone is seeing today. Is this a good or bad thing?

I never saw a black bear in the wild until I was an adult. Now I am dodging them with my car. I think I saw a bobcat once. Now, we readily see photos of them in the news. Coyotes were unheard of and those claiming to have seen one was laughed at. Today they have become a nuisance in numbers. I saw a moose once standing in the middle of the road drooling. It was a bull and he didn’t really look so hot. Today, all we hear is of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of moose dying each season from winter ticks. Maybe the increase in moose and ticks are related. Lynx was something we called sausages. Now, they are quite often run over by cars. Deer were quite common and seldom did our freezer go empty – it was a necessary thing to have venison to eat through the winter. We were poor.

It seems that today, the cry is persistent to protect any and every kind of animal. Part of what’s wrong with this demand is that it is spurred on by people insisting they want to see these animals in their back yards or from the comfort of the automobiles. I think back to the many, many years of putting on countless miles in the woods and the comparatively less abundance of wildlife. Today, the demands are such that it’s time to revisit just what in the hell we are doing and for what purpose are we doing it.

The results of an overabundance of any one or a number of wildlife species are never any good…at least for the animals. Biology 101 taught us about the diseases that happen when too many of any one animal is crowded into limited space. Space is relative and as ignorant humans, who love to put human traits on every animal, and that live in comparatively close quarters, we may not understand the consequences of protecting wild animals for our own selfish desires.

Cross-breeding of species is happening now at what appears an alarming rate. Not that long ago we heard of a polar bear crossing with a grizzly. Why did that happen? We now know that there really is no such thing as a “pure” wolf. So-called wolves and coyotes, we discover, are nothing more than a hybrid of species. And, I think I am just scratching the surface. Each species carries with it recognizable traits. What happens when species cross? We don’t know. What we do know is often behaviors change and that presents a entire host of other possibilities, the most of which are never any good.

Today, I read about how the Canada lynx, a species of wild cat that is protected by the U.S. Federal Government, as well as some Canadian governments, has been cross breeding with bobcats. The article mentioning this event says, “..biologists are finding a surprise: lynx are mating with bobcats in New Brunswick, creating fertile hybrids.

“It’s a pretty good cross between them,” Libby said. “They look like a bobcat, but they have really long black tufts on the ends of their ears and a little bit larger feet.”

What does this really mean? How will this event change the characteristics of the offspring and the continual breeding and cross breeding of cross breeds, etc.? We don’t know. Each species comes equipped with certain physical traits to aid in their survival. Will cross breeding alter those traits in ways that become detrimental to the species we are trying to protect? Is this a common occurrence that we are just now discovering, or is this rare and due to other circumstances, like over protecting a species or two, forcing overlaps that result in cross breeding?

One of the problems this country is facing is the perpetuated nonsense that somehow man must be removed from the fields and forests in order that the wild species can do whatever it is they are going to do with no help from man. It was never intended to be this way, nor does that proposal work real well.

It is hoped that this perverse pendulum will get to wherever it is headed and swing back to something more closely resembling sanity before we have destroyed our wildlife thinking we are saving it.

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