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The Scientist Who Wanted Grizzly Bears Eliminated

the-scientist-who-wanted-grizzly-bears-eliminated21/10 15:45 - The Scientist Who Wanted Grizzly Bears Eliminated
We read stories about how humans have upset the balance of nature for our own ends, from hunting some species to extinction to fighting invasive species with other invasive species. Often it takes way too long to realize the harm, and sometimes it's too late. When America set up national parks in wilderness areas, the unintended consequences of so many tourists visiting bear territory were tragic. In 1967, two girls were killed by grizzly bears in Glacier National Park. What would we do about that? Biologist Gairdner Moment had an idea, which he wrote about in a 1969 essay called “Bears: The Need for a New Sanity in Wildlife Conservation.” His solution was to kill all the grizzly bears.  At the parks, he was horrified to see that so many naive tourists were victims of popular bear propaganda, like Smokey Bear (“he looks the very embodiment of sturdy dependability”). Rather than focus on re-educating park goers or discouraging practices that attract the bears, Moment argued that humans are not morally obligated to protect the grizzly bear—or any other animal. As he confidently stated, “any zoologist could draw up a list of animal(s) […] we would be better off without: the common rat, the fire ant, certain species of sharks, the tse-tse fly.”Moment’s alarmist statements quickly gained press and popularity, and were republished in mass-market periodicals. He would go on to publish several more essays defending this argument.While other scientists objected, the parks took measures that made the bears more dangerous. Read about Dr. Moment and his war against grizzlies at Jstor Daily.  -via Damn Interesting (Image credit: Jean-Pierre Lavoie)...


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