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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Apologies for not knowing who sent me this WILDLIFE FOR ALL proclamation stating how necessary it is for all who are not hunters and fishermen to show up and be counted when State Game Commissions hold their public forums on "management issues"..........Well penned and something to take heed of by all of us..............Actions always count more than words,,,,,,,,,,,,,,"75% of getting something done is simply in showing up,,,,,,,,,,,,,,another 15% is in showing up prepared,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and then some further persistence and "pixie dust" sprinkled in to optimize chance to change things for the better

Wildlife for ALL

It is very common for those entrusted with protecting wildlife at the state level to forget that wildlife is for all people. History and tradition have made it easy to concentrate on managing animals for the needs of hunters. The non-consumptive community is tolerated at best, marginalized and ignored at worst. Is this the fault of the Agencies alone? Not entirely, there are several ways that we can work together on finding solutions to the imbalance that permeates wildlife management.

  • We can look for agency practices that DO encourage and serve non-consumptive users, we must affirm those efforts and positively reinforce the actions that show a true understanding of the need to manage wildlife in ways that serve everyone.
  • We must show up! You will never go to a game agency meeting that has no consumptive users present. We are all constituents and we must be prepared to show up too!
  • We must realize that change comes slowly, and that lasting change often comes from the changing of perceptions and understanding. A change of culture, not just of regulation.
  • We must always identify who the actual 'decision-maker' is, and that means knowing where the 'leverage' comes from. The person in front of you may have no control at all over what is happening. Find out who does and direct your efforts to them.
  • One of the main reasons that agencies are able to be so dismissive of the needs of non-consumers and  advocacy organizations is that we rarely vote according to our core environmental beliefs. This often results in state governments, especially in the Rocky Mountain West, being mostly comprised of those with similar consumptive ideals to their state's historic demographic of producers. For the strategic politician these special interest stakeholders can mean the difference between re-election and 'retirement'!
  • Producers and carnivores CAN co-exist but it is up to the producer to take the steps required to do so. More and more livestock growers are embracing non-lethal deterrents and conflict prevention. We must support and encourage them as they try to find the new balance that is found beyond the use of bullets. They are 21st Century pioneers indeed!
  • We must be able to identify the actual issues that we are addressing. It can be cathartic to express our dissatisfaction through anger and by personal attacks. This becomes a distraction from what we are actually advocating for-the quality of life for the animals. It really is OK to disagree, in fact it can be the first step to real communication, we just have to remember to do it in a respectful and non-judgmental way. Talk to people the way you would like your favorite friend or relative treated if they were in the same position.
  • We can try to engage the people whose values we feel most distant from. This can be hard but it helps to know that you are not giving up your beliefs just by listening to someone else's view, and maybe they will then listen to yours. Empathy is not about betraying yourself, it is about allowing yourself to try and see how the other person is experiencing the situation at hand.
  • We cannot bully people into being compassionate! What we would like to see more than anything is compassion towards non-human animals. Let's try it on each other first! We would like people to realize that  killing something just for recreation is simply not OK.
  • Advocates and watchers can be dismissed as being 'emotional'. If we think about sport hunting of large carnivores (cougars, wolves, bears) logically, we realize that there is no reason to do it. It is not a conflict prevention measure because it does not target 'problem' animals. It is for recreation, and why do we recreate? We recreate for enjoyment-it gives us pleasure. And what are 'enjoyment' and 'pleasure' if not emotions?
  • Always remember that change IS happening. If we examine societal attitudes towards carnivores even since the 1960's, it really is better, BUT there is movement today to go back to the old way of regarding these creatures as redundant. Several states have had bills introduced in efforts to relegate cougars to 'predator status' which is basically no accountability whatsoever.
  • Surprisingly much of the pushback to this regression is from professional wildlife managers. Some of them really are stepping up to the plate to fight for some semblance of protection for wild carnivores. Those that do, deserve our support. As do those brave public servants devoted to protecting our Public Lands-these lands must stay in the Public Sector. This is an insidious and very real threat and we must respond to it with unity and firm resolve.
  • Lastly, funding is 'in the news' these days. Agencies are facing budget shortfalls and it is time for the funding AND the representation to reflect all the different stakeholders. There cannot be one without the other…
A quote by Woodrow Wilson recently came to our attention. It was part of an address to the Senate regarding the 1st World War. The arena of wildlife management is similar to the arena of war in its propensity to end up as highly defined 'sides'. Perhaps the theme of this quote could be well utilized to administer the Public Trust Doctrine that governs our nations wild-lands and wildlife.
'There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace.' 
There has been a consumptive monopoly for too long, it is time for community and not rivalry to take center stage in the protection of our most wonderful natural world….

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