The destruction of perfection

 

This is in response to Hal Herring's well-written and informative article. Your cover was devastating. That something so beautiful can no longer roam free but ends up in the arms of one small human with blood on his hands and a smirk on his face - I simply fail to understand what would give one permission to destroy such perfection.

I have been a practicing veterinarian for the past 37 years. I have treated and/or restored and released wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bears, bobcats, hawks, owls and eagles in addition to many nonpredatory species. I have always had tremendous respect for wild animals, especially predators. Their agility, intelligence, strength and awareness, honed by many thousands of years of genetic adaptation and selection, put them in the creme de la creme category of species inhabiting the planet.

Human societies have the advantage of being able to transfer the genius of a few into the hands of the many. This holds true for firearms, binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras. Humans also have the discretionary capability to utilize these technologies to enhance or destroy the perfection inherent in biological systems, whether single individuals or entire ecosystems.

The decision of which tools to use depends on perception, awareness, attitude, education, thought and action. This decision-making process is closely tied to connectivity between the hunter and the hunted. The more highly integrated and compassionate the relationship, the more respect and less harm will be done. An individual who chooses a camera can transmit the image worldwide to educate the public about the perfection found in nature and the need to maintain ecological sustainability for generations to come. The person who chooses a firearm reduces evolutionary perfection to the inanimate in an instant.

Hunting license fees help foster programs protecting wildlife and wildlands. But add manipulative politics and management practices into the mix, and then the best interest of a vested few comes into play at the expense of those taxpayers who perceive predatory species as an essential part of a balanced ecosystem. Again we have the discretion and the opportunity in a democratic society to prioritize spending for programs like habitat restoration and protection of species, in conjunction with appropriate management of public lands. These programs do not need to be dependent on license fees manipulated by individuals who are mainly interested in elimination of what they see as competitive predators or worse, the acquisition of trophies for that wall in the den.

This article certainly makes all these points clear to me.

Michael A. McCoy, DVM
Imperial Beach, California
High Country News Classifieds