Thursday, June 29, 2006

Setting Free the Bear

An alternately sad, then wonderful, yet potentially tragic story about nature’s greatest animal: “Boo”, a grizzly bear living in a wildlife refuge in British Columbia, has escaped for a second time in order to pick up chicks. To do so, he broke through a 180kg (about 400 lbs) steel door and stormed over a 4m (over 12 ft) high electrified fence, an enclosure that was thought to be escape-proof. The 480kg (over 1000 lbs) bear is certainly determined to get some action, as he was recently spotted from a helicopter in the company of another bear (who is undoubtedly a female).

How many times did something wrong happen here?

1. Somebody illegally shoots Boo’s mother, making him an orphan. (Incidentally, if I knew who did this, I’d put them in an “enclosure” with Boo, no guns allowed.)
2. They take Boo and put him in captivity, and keep him there indefinitely.
3. After escaping one time, the capture him and put him back in captivity.
4. They say stupid things like “Boo didn’t know how good he had it.” Like they know what’s good for a bear. I imagine if he wanted to get out so badly, it wasn’t that great living in an enclosure without any females. This is like telling a convict “you don’t know how good you’ve got it here in prison.”
5. They propose castrating the bear if they catch him to remove his temptation to escape.

I hope they never find him.


At 12:37 PM, Blogger Molly said...

This "animals have it good in captivity" argument was one of the things that rubbed me the wrong way about The Life of Pi (inasmuch as I know it's only a novel), which I finished not long ago.

Go, Boo, go.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Janna said...

Congratulations – you finally got me. I just had to comment on your lack of recognizing that Boo is a human-habituated bear. You know I think that an otherwise wild animal is ‘better off dead’ than in a zoo, but nothing can change the fact that Boo is essentially a zoo animal; life as a wild animal ended for him when he was ‘rescued’ as a cub. While it’s true that it's possible he can disappear into the wilds of the range, live happily ever after and never be problem, I think it is much more likely that he will reappear in some future hiker-bear conflict. And the way that wildlife management works around here, as you well know, is that he will be a dead bear if that happens. I personally hope that he has a very successful mating season while out on the lam, passing peacefully by way of a massive heart attack from over-exertion. I think the more important question surrounding this whole event is why it’s so goddamn easy for anyone and their dog to put wild animals in cages and call it a ‘refuge’ when it’s really just a roadside tourist attraction. In a proper facility, Boo could’ve been rehabilitated and released into the wild. That’s what’s so sad. And by the way, how are you feeling about the existence of ‘panda zoos’ these days? If you want to fight about it when you get here, I’ll be ready…been doing lots of bicep curls lately. While lying on the couch. :)

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Scott McC said...

I thought I made that point (subtly, mind you) by saying that they put him in captivity and kept him there, when they should have re-released him. Human-habituated bears are the WORST kind of bears. Once they get a taste for honey, they can't stop.

I just hope this is the last we hear from Boo. And that he doesn't attack anybody, the sex-crazed maniac.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Garry said...

I hope he doesn't create any widows for one year, or worse yet disobey the cider house rules.

At 12:12 AM, Blogger Christeen said...

Wow those British Columbians sure are FOOLS. .... oh, wait.

Well, I don't know whether Boo is better off behind bars or behind Boobette, but on the subject of PRISONS, I've actually heard that convicts DO feel they have it good in prison.... hence the "commit a minor but significant enough crime to keep me in prison over the Canadian winter" phenomenon we've got going up here in PG....

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Scott McC said...

Our prisons are too easy, then. More slave labour, less internet access. (Do prisoners have internet access?)

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Scott McC said...

oh, and by the way - Boo came back to his enclosure by himself.


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