Don’t… Feed…The…Bear…!

So, the newest thing in the news is the killing of the gorilla, Harambe, at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio.  If you were unaware, though I doubt that you are, a three year old somehow managed to get into the enclosure.  I’ve seen the video and I’m still appalled that the zoo killed the gorilla, but mainly the responses of “Who cares about a stupid gorilla!”.

Which also leads me to all the animals that humans cause to be killed by meddling with nature when they shouldn’t.  Specifically by feeding wild animals.  My post title comes from Rabbits line in the 1977 Disney film, The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, ya know because Pooh ate too much honey and is now too fat to fit through Rabbits front door?  Yeah.  Don’t feed the bear.  It’s very good advice.

Anyways, let’s get this started, as it’s beginning to seem confusing.

*Note: about the title photo, which is also towards the end of this post.  This happened at a 2012 PGA golf tour in Louisiana.  An alligator meandered onto the field, close to all the people, and then proceeded to lay down in the grass to sun himself.  The photo’s from that make me happy, not to mention that they prove my point, which you and I will get to… eventually.

 

Why, you might ask?  Because I know gorilla’s well enough.  First, gorilla’s basically either see something as a baby that needs protecting or they see something as a threat.  If they see the item as a threat they will charge, and generally pick it up and slam it about to bash its brains in with in seconds.  That or if the perceived threat is their height they might try pushing it down first and them pounding it to death with its fists.  Now I do understand that these are huge creatures with a lot of strength behind them.  Even if something is not seen as a threat, they can still injure it, though never on purpose.

When they see something as needing protecting, they wander up to it quickly, not rush, and proceed to keep it safe.  If the gorilla feels that its new baby is in danger it will try to get it from harms way as quickly as possible.  With all the humans up above squeaking and squawking, the baby was still in danger and is therefore why the gorilla drug it with him on a few occasions.  However, if you watch the video, each time after the dragging, the gorilla touches and prods the new baby and even stands it up to see if it’s alright.  And you know that the kid is alright or else it would be lying still and either dead or unconscious and drowning in the water.  No, the kid is sitting upright.  It might be injured in some way, but it is certainly not dead or dying.  Which now we’re told the child did sustain some injuries, but nothing life threatening.  It’s fine.

If the people had not agitated the gorilla so, it wouldn’t have seen them as a threat to its new baby and would not have seen the need to get it away from these threatening things as quickly as possible.  I can say that people should educate themselves better on gorilla behavior, but then I always have to remind myself that most of the world doesn’t do things like me, I’m the odd one out.  So, I can’t really blame them for their reactions, because they don’t know and they don’t have the drive to know.

I do not have children, but I highly doubt that my views would change.  I say this because I’m constantly thinking about various scenarios.  A lot.  I come to a rational decision on them that makes me feel it is right.  Nine times out of ten, when the situation arises, I don’t sway from my own convictions.  I have had times where my irrational emotions get the better of me, but I am able to remember what I already know is a truth for me, and can proceed from there.  But then I also have made the choice to not have children, and if any mothers are reading this post, you’re probably thinking that was a good decision on my part.  I know.  I’ve had people who either have children or want to have children tell me that they hope that I never have children.    But, I have saved a few children before because of my logical thought processes prior to events, when other people have simply stood there and done nothing.  So, it can’t be all bad, my thought process.

I am also not under any illusions that I am exactly like other humans.  Far and wide, most instances pertaining to me do not hold true for society at large.  So, I know that people will say to other people that you never really know anything until you’ve experienced that situation first hand.  It’s true.  But as I said, I have a plan and nine times out of ten, rather than one or two times out of ten, my plan doesn’t change.  I always taken in the experience as best as can be and really feel it and mull it over for years if need be.  Taking in new information along the way and formulating a near as possible ‘in their shoes’ feeling about the entire subject matter.  Then I weigh it against my own true feelings of what I would do.  I never arrive at my plans on a whim, just to be clear.  It helps me to keep my head during extreme situations and not fall to pieces.  It works for me.  I’m not saying I’m better than other people, I just do what I do.

However, most people who I meet, while they have a plan they rarely stick with it during extreme situations.  I can’t begrudge them this, as this is what the majority of humans do in extreme situations.  Also everyone, and I mean everyone, makes good decisions and bad ones.  However making a few bad decisions does not make one a bad parent, but it certainly means that there has been some bad parenting going on.  Everyone is guilty of bad parenting, though they are not a bad parent.  My own parents were guilty of making bad decisions as far as parenting goes, and so have I with my cats, who I see as my children.

In reference to the child at the Cincinnati zoo, I still stand by my claim that this was bad parenting, though not that these people are bad parents.  Teaching your children is part of good parenting, neglecting to do so is considered bad parenting.  Children are not stupid.  They may not fully understand the entire impact of something, but they are not stupid and you can teach them things.  Now, this is not always the case, but for the most part, children who are taught early what a gun or knife is, that it is dangerous, how to properly use it, are not the children who end up stumbling upon such things and killing themselves or their friends.

I’m not even saying you have to take your three-year old out to a shooting range.  My father showed The Sister and I his pistol, showed us what it looked like, where it was, that we were never to touch it because it was dangerous and to never, ever point it at anyone.  Did we ever touch his guns?  No sir.  He didn’t beat it into us and he didn’t show us how to shoot or clean his guns, he simply brought up the elephant in the room so we’d know what we were looking at and that its dangerous and never a toy.

Every time I read a story about a kid killing his friend or himself with a gun, it is always stated that the parents had kept such things from them.  Never brought it out into the open to show the seriousness of it, but kept it hidden hoping their children would never see it.  I find this to be a bad decision; bad parenting.  It seems like a good idea, I’ll grant you.  Guns are dangerous.  But, if you’re a kid whose only seen them on TV and they look like fun, then this is the wrong way to handle that situation.  Even if you don’t have a gun in your home, someone else will.  Some other child’s family will have one, and what if they too, decide to keep it hidden and never talk about it?  So, this is one instance where I feel that my parents chose a good decision; good parenting.

Another is that they explained to me that animals are dangerous.  They didn’t think, “Oh, it’s not important.”, they felt that it was very important.  They didn’t do this in a way to make me petrified of them and never want to see them or learn about them, but to instill in me that the lions and tigers are not our family cats.  They are wild animals and they could kill me, or any other wild animal whether in a zoo our out in nature.  So, when I went to a zoo, even if I ran off, I would never have dreamed about going into an enclosure with an animal because I had been taught, before ever going to a zoo, that you do not play with these animals.  They will not be your friends.  They are not to be messed with.

I find that a lot of parents that I’ve known never take the time to have this discussion with their children.  Sure, none of their kids have gotten into a zoo enclosure before, but I have seen them rush up to snakes or hit animals too roughly because they don’t know how to touch them or even if they should.  It’s an important talk.  If you’re not having this talk, then it is bad parenting.  Are you a bad parent?  Absolutely not.

Had this been my child I would have told everyone to shut the fuck up and for someone to run and get zoo officials and bring them directly to me.  I would have told them not to kill the gorilla.  Why?  Because the gorilla is doing what gorilla’s do.  If it was trying to protect my child and I could get the people to shut up, then my kid would probably be perfectly OK.  If not, it would have already been dead within seconds, there’s still a chance my child might die, but it’s 50/50 at this point.  But, I would still not want the zoo to kill the gorilla, no matter the outcome, but that is my personal preference.

This is not a rash decision, I have thought about this type of thing for a very long time.  Like, if a bear happened to attack me in the wild, yet I survived but was disfigured.  I would insist that no one kill the bear, because the bear was only doing what bears do.  Or if a neighbours dog bit me, I would never ever insist that they put the dog down and I would intervene if any officials wanted that done, same as if either attacked my parents, my sister or my child, if I had one.

It is because animals run on instinct alone, yet humans have the ability to reason.  To say that anyone’s life is worth more or less to me is wrong.  It always has been.  That elderly person is not worth more than a baby and that baby is not worth more than the middle-aged woman.  Animals aren’t worth more than humans, nor are humans worth more than animals.  Though some humans rarely use their ability to reason, we have the capability, so should be able to acquiesce in situations.  Simply saying that animals kill other animals out of defense is not an excuse, and shouldn’t be set as an example for killing an animal because it is a perceived threat.

“Well, the snakes gonna strike me, so we’ll just kill all the snakes.” is a human running only on instinct and neglecting to use its capacity for reasoning, which by the way puts you in the wrong because you’re ignoring an ability that you have.  You can reason, so it is your job to utilize that reasoning and actually learn about snakes, and learn how to avoid disturbing them in their homes.  A snake will always sleep or sun where its instincts tell him to do so, but you can learn to not step over logs or approach a sunning snake, etc.

In the case of the Cincinnati gorilla I would have insisted they use a tranquilizer, if they couldn’t persuade the gorilla to let go of its new baby.  If the gorilla had ended up killing my child because it saw it as a threat, I would probably sue the zoo for their abysmal security measures, unless it came to light that my child forced its way into the enclosure, which turns out to be the case in this instance, so therefore I wouldn’t sue the zoo because my child purposefully wriggled his way in there.  I started writing this before other information came to light, so I’m adding it in, as I read about it.

Apparently several witnesses state that the child kept saying that he was going to go into the enclosure.  The mother didn’t ignore him, but also didn’t really think he’d be so brazen, because she just kept telling him no.  To me, if the child has done this sort of thing before, stating he’ll do something and then doing it, then this is bad parenting because she neglected to take extra measures knowing how he was.  But, perhaps her child had never exhibited this type of extreme behavior before, in which case this is an example of good parenting, as she was trying to tell him not to go in there.  It didn’t work, but that’s not really her fault, if it’s the latter example.  But also, if she’d taken time to explain that wild animals, even a zoo, are dangerous, this also might not have happened.  It’s an example to learn from; why it’s important to talk to your children.

>>google search

Now, in the case of this meme, I simply saw it as “Yeah, why did they kill him?  He was taking care of the child, not hurting it.” and I didn’t really pay any attention to the whole “bad parenting thing.”  But, then I pretty much assume that most parents aren’t very good.  I encounter loads of people who simply aren’t interested in paying attention to or watching their children, and if they do find them they aren’t too bothered by it.  They’re not simply caught up in the moment, they just find the moment more interesting than their own kid and don’t even bother the check that they’re still there.  It’s probably also because I grew up with parents like that.  Parents who were too busy doing other things to notice their young child.

I understand that children constantly escape the clutches of adult caretakers without so much as a by your leave.  I was guilty of the same as a kid.  Yet, most times I’d be standing with my parents and they’d walk off and leave me, so that when I turned around they were nowhere to be seen.  When I found them again, they didn’t really care that I was missing, because I was fine, so they were just glad they didn’t have anything to worry about.

And not having children myself to worry with, and being a person who people watches, I couldn’t tell you how many parents are world champions of the bad parenting title of simply ignoring their children.  They’re not simply fussing with other children or taking a photo or turning away for a second.  Their child is talking to them and they shoo them away.  I realize that you can’t always answer your childs every random question or concern, because it can get really annoying really quickly, but I’ve seen children pee themselves because they were trying to tell their parents they needed to go to the loo, but weren’t attended to.  I’ve seen children tell their parents they want to go see blahblahblah and the parents who have been busy for five minutes not paying attention to their child, absent-mindedly shoo them away saying, “Yes, alright.”  Some are still not paying attention fifteen minutes later when their child comes back.

I’m not saying being a parent is an easy job, nor am I saying to helicopter your kids and have your hands up their butts like they are your own personal marionette puppet so that you know what they’re doing every single second, but there is some serious bad parenting going on the world by everyone.  Whether it be this decision of not paying attention or another one, it doesn’t matter.  My parents were great at some things and abysmal at others.  But it does seem wrong to equate bad parenting decisions to being a bad parent all around, and that all the other out-spoken parents are acting like they’ve never made a bad parenting decision in their lives and shaming this woman for hers… or perhaps hers was a good parenting decision and her kid was just willful.

 

Bison, mother and calf | >>blog.wildatheartimages.com

However, Harambe, is not the only animal killed because of human mishaps or ignorance.  Earlier in the month a bison calf was put down due to park visitor ignorance.  They thought it was cold and so put it into their car and took it to a ranger station.  Because the mother refused to take her calf back, the park had it euthanized, and the visitors were fined $110.  Personally, I think the fine should have been a lot higher than that.  They caused an animal to be killed.  $110 seems a bit paltry.

Also, I think that since the calf was later rejected by its mother and herd, the park officials should have sent it somewhere else to be reared and cared for to be returned to the wild later, possibly, instead of just killing it.  But apparently human trumps animal, so even if the human is in the wrong, other humans will kill the animal, even if they think it’s sad and do not want to, because bureaucratic regulations deem it necessary.  Which burns me up.

National Parks throughout the US are always putting down animals because of human ignorance and interference.  Do these people not read the national park motto of “Take only photographs and leave only footprints?”  It doesn’t say pet the kitty or pose with the buffalo or ride the bear.  If these people were to visit a ranger station and actually listen they would know the two major rules of A) don’t feed the wildlife, and B) don’t touch the wildlife.

I’ve been to national parks and I think animals are cool too, but I am also educated enough to know that wild animals are wild.  A wild bear is not the same as a child’s toy teddy bear or Winnie The Pooh and that the mountain lion is not a cute wittle kitty to be petted and fed and who will play with some string.  I know that once fed, these animals will lose their natural fear of humans.  They will start seeking out humans and their food, and then associate humans as food.  And yet, anytime I’ve ever visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there are those humans who are ecstatic to see the bear, want to get as close as they can to it, pet it, take pictures of it in macro and they want to feed it and lure it to them to hand feed it.

Some of them were at the rangers stations getting the same talk I’ve heard all of my life.  You can even intervene and tell them that they’re not supposed to, but they don’t care.  They are simply under the illusion that the bear is cute and cuddly and won’t hurt them and it’ll be the coolest thing ever to tell the folks back at home how they fed one.  These people are assholes.  They don’t care that they’ll essentially be the cause of the bear having to be killed.  They don’t care that the bear will attack another human because of them.

Yet, I suppose in the midst of the exciting moment, humans are known for throwing rationale out the window and just being excited, no matter what the outcome may be.  My own father is guilty of this.  When I was two, people saw some bear cubs, and went crazy.  When I first heard this story being relayed to me at age five, all I could say was, “But dad, the mom would have been near by.  Why would you do that!?”  But up until then, this was a really cute story that I had just then ruined.

 

American Black Bear | >>theazuregate.blogspot.com

Anyways, people were throwing all sorts of food at them to lure them closer because what, they wanted to cuddle them?  Well, at least two people stood their kids up next to them to take photographs.  I was one of them.  That other families boy and I could have been killed or seriously injured as bear cubs are stronger than two-year old humans.  The mother could have come charging out of the bushes and killed us.  I also want to think otherwise, but more than likely, those two bear cubs would have been put down, because they didn’t have a fear of humans and would have searched out more food.  My own father, along with other heedless humans caused two baby bears to be killed.  I am ashamed of this and I didn’t even have any say so or memory of this event.

Please just don’t be those people.   Please.  Educated yourselves, listen to the rangers or personelle at the visitors stations.  Heed what I say.  Do NOT feed the animals.  There is a reason as to why one shouldn’t do this.  YOU will be responsible for their death.  I can not change the laws, or I would have the bear or other wild life relocated to somewhere that they won’t come into contact with other humans.  But, then this probably wouldn’t work as these animals move for food and transverse great distances to find it, or places that best suit them for living.  So, I might not be able to fix the having to be killed/not being able to relocate part, but I can help to spread the word of DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS!

I also realize that nature is cruel.  Nature kills animals, including babies.  Predatory animals will eat non predatory animals, and lean times mean that some animals will starve.  Wild fires mean that some animals will burn to death in the flames.  Perhaps this bison calf was poorly?  Perhaps not.  I love animals and don’t want to see them hurt, but if I were in a national park and saw a sick baby or an animal being killed by another, I wouldn’t interfere, because you just don’t.  I might inform a ranger that an animal seemed unwell and about where I saw it and which direction it was headed (if it were on the move), but I wouldn’t try to save it, because nature does what nature does, as animals do what animals do.  You just don’t intervene, especially since you don’t know what you’re doing.  Other people do with saving animals, but you do not.

The only time I’ve ever interfered with nature is when my cats were part of the cruelty of nature.  My cats are like my children, and so their deeds are my responsibility.  I’m well aware that cats are predators and eat other animals that I find to be adorable.  If my cat had already killed it, then I don’t scold them, because their only following their instinct.  But, because it is my cat, if I can intervene, then I will.

My cats are always trying to eat Anole Lizards that get into the house.  If I can, I will save the lizard.  If my cats have injured it too badly, then the only humane thing is to let them finish, because me saving it at that point will only cause it to die slower.  When we used to let our cats outside, I had an excellent huntress named Tiger Lilly.  Three legged and super tough.  I saved a baby opossum and a fat little field mouse from her on separate occasions, because I was outside and I just couldn’t let her kill it in good conscience.  Yet, when she brought me a freshly killed bunny with its head missing and all its guts poured out on the cement, I could only thank her and tell her what a good huntress she was, and yell for my dad to come clean it up.

My other cat, Seraphina, was this beautiful fluffy grey cat, who seemed very prim and proper, yet when she went outside, our yard would later look like a killing field of birds.  She didn’t eat them like Tiger Lilly, she merely killed them for sport and the more kills under her belt, the happier she became.  I saw her once from our window.  Every few minutes you’d see her sailing through the air.  When I went outside there were at least eight dead birds, all different kinds, and she was sailing through the air grabbing another one, killing it with her teeth on the way down.  It was a graceful, and also a very cruel act, but cats are cats, and they don’t always hunt for food, sometimes it most certainly is simply for sport.

I would bring her back inside if I went out and she was killing birds.  Her fluffy, grey princess daughter, Bao-Bao, followed in her mothers footsteps, only wasn’t nearly as graceful when flying through the air, nor did she score as many kills.  I would still bring her inside if she was in the mood to kill birds and I knew about it.  But, if I couldn’t stop a killing, I would never berate or chastise my cats.  Never.

But, then these cats were my responsibility.  The animals out in the wild are not.  Leave them to do what their instincts tell them to do, or leave them to nature.  I say this not to be cruel, but because most mammals do have a problem with human scent, like the bison in the story.  Touching that baby is really what killed it.  The mother wouldn’t take it back because it couldn’t recognize it as its baby, it only smelled it as something foreign and unfamiliar.  Sometimes things like this can be fixed, but don’t count on it.  Always assume that if you touch that baby wild animal, that it’s mother won’t take it back and you’ve killed it.  Always err on the side of caution and never assume things will work out fine.  If you have no idea what you are doing, or how the animals react, it’s best to do nothing.

 

Mountain Lion and Cub | >>oldagoura.org

It’s not just bears and bison that people are interfering with.  Mountain Lions in the park have had to be killed because people want to feed them.  Alligators in Florida have also had to be put down because people will feed them.  You think these animals are scary and out to get you, until the moment you think you can feed one and have a great story.  But unless the mountain lion or alligator is starving or you have harassed it, cornered it, threatened it or disturbed its den or nest or its babies, they don’t want anything to do with humans.  It’s only when humans feed them, that problems arise, for the most part.

 

Grey Wolf and pups | >>yellowstonepark.com

Wolves, too, are seen as these scary, out to get you animals.  Unless it’s lean times or you’ve threatened them or their pups, they want nothing to do with you.  Even farmers out west are convinced that wolves are evil and that they must kill all of them in order to protect their farm animals.  Wolves don’t like lines.  I don’t know why, but they don’t.  You put a line up and they won’t cross it.  It doesn’t even have to be high, just 2 – 3 feet off the ground.

 

American Alligator… See? He just went out there to sun. | >>thesun.co.uk

Wolves, alligators, and mountain lions all have the instinct to flee before fight.  It is only when one backs them into a corner, harasses or agitates them by yelling or throwing things at them, or they feel that their babies are in danger, will they attack first.  So, if you get eaten because you did something to them, then it’s all your fault and I have no sympathy.  Because as humans we want to at least slap people who harass us, agitate us, throw things at us, corner us or attack our families.  We, have the ability to reason and those of us that use it, don’t end up killing people for their transgressions.  Animals can’t reason and only run on instinct.  It’s kill or be killed.  Fight or flee.  If you’ve put them into a position of fight, then they’ll fight, and you’ll have deserved it, I think!  If you’d taken but a little time out of your life to watch a documentary or read some information online you would already know these things, and would know not to do them.

Perhaps you don’t believe me, like my parents, about alligators.  While I was looking for a photo of an alligator for this post, I came across to things that I wanted to look at further.  When I did, this guy who kayaks in Florida said the same things that I did.  I neglected to mention staying away from the area’s where alligators mate in spring, but yeah, that’s a good idea.  I personally don’t want to be in the alligators habitat, even though they are not aggressive (unless provoked), so I certainly wouldn’t kayak through it.  I’ve been in the swamps in boats and it was still too close for comfort.

There have also been accounts of people getting really close to bison to take pictures with them.  Don’t do this.  Sure, that bison looks stupid and just standing there doing nothing and it doesn’t look like it will trample or gore you, but trust me, if it feels threatened (and no amount of slow walking or coaxing can “tame” a wild animal), then it will trample and gore you.  You will be injured, you could die.  Sure there’s the odd off-chance that things will go well, but again, always err on the side of caution and never assume that you can get close to a wild animal and remain unharmed.  Even if it doesn’t attack you, it could do serious injury to itself or others.  Just don’t.

 

>>wilx.com

Sea creatures are an entirely different affair.  One does need to know the proper procedure for getting them back into the water, but if it can be done successfully, then the creature will have no problem going back to its life in the sea, doing the things that whales and sharks and dolphins do every day.

However, people have decided that taking selfies with beached sea creatures, instead of safely returning them to the water, is a wonderful idea.  They also think that it’s perfectly fine to fish them out of the shallows to hold them aloft, in the air, to take selfies with them.  These animals have died because they were not attended to or were dragged from their environment into one that they can not live in.  These people are also assholes.

Apparently the guy who took the photo of all the people holding the baby dolphin in Argentina.  Yeah, he claims that it was dead on the beach before they picked it up.  o_0  People, don’t play with dead things.  Just leave them be, unless you plan on burying it, and those wooden poles with flat metal ends, they’re called shovels.  Use those and not your bare hands.

 

So, let’s recap.  Bad parenting doesn’t equal bad parent.  Everyone makes good and bad choices when rearing children.  Wild animals are unpredictable.  Don’t agitate them, don’t walk up to them, don’t touch them, don’t take selfies with them, don’t feed them.  And for the love of all that is holy, don’t play with dead things.

 

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