Inhumane treatment

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Sunday's article, "Studied to Death," hit a nerve, but I was encouraged to see that wildlife investigators are being forced to confront the ethics of their actions. While in the Denver area a few months ago, I read a similar article in the Rocky Mountain News regarding the sad waste of animals used in the attempt to reintroduce lynx to the Colorado mountains by the state wildlife department. Many wildlife advocates in Colorado were outraged at the senseless deaths of these shy and reclusive animals. The lynx were captured, radio-collared, released into an alien environment, and finally dissected in some post-mortem analysis of starvation.

Most of the lynx in the central Rockies have disappeared as their habitat was fragmented or displaced by suburban sprawl, country club subdivisions, highway corridors, outlet stores, and ski resorts. Transplanting lynx into such areas is like transplanting trout onto a parking lot. Perhaps when Coloradans decide to reconvert human sprawl to lynx habitat, these reintroductions will make sense. Meanwhile, you have to wonder if wildlife managers ever asked some obvious questions, such as, "Is the action a credible scientific investigation; is it an ecologically viable and responsible action; and does it constitute humane treatment of wildlife?"

The Rocky Mountain News article mentioned something that the Empire's AP article did not, that most of the doomed lynx were taken from Alaska.

Perhaps Alaska's wildlife management officials should ask themselves some questions regarding the ethics of exporting our wildlife to facilitate futile and inhumane programs such as this one.

A.F. Grossman


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