Don’t kill bears for acting like bears

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Finding a man's body in Yellowstone the day after he was killed by a grizzly is not a pretty sight. And certainly, it is a tragedy, writes PERC research assistant Brennan Jorgensen, "but so is tracking down and killing a wild animal in its own territory."

Jorgensen points out that more than $24 million dollars have gone toward grizzly recovery efforts in the greater Yellowstone area, but now park officials are spending ridiculous amounts to find and kill one bear.

Unfortunately, it is not surprising that political responses to public fears  trump spending millions in the name of science. As YNP Superintendent Dan Wenk  admitted, "We'll never know which bears  caused the fatality." And yet, the search, and high price of pursuit continues,  if only to appease public pressures.

Jorgensen asks, "couldn't the funds be better allocated for the conservation and management of the park? Or perhaps even used preemptively for visitor education? The cost should end with the loss of life and not further drain the shallow coffers of the National Park."

Yellowstone is not a zoo or Disneyland, but a wilderness. It does not offer wild  tea cup rides, but rather wild animals. Visitors should be properly prepared and respectful. Read the signs, hike in groups, and bring bear spray.
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Huggins is a research fellow and former director of outreach with PERC as well as a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Her association with PERC goes back several years, although she has recently embarked on a new venture as the manager of economic initiatives for the American Prairie Reserve. Huggins coauthored with...
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