A call to preserve our predators
The recent decision by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to increase the bear, wolf and mountain lion hunting quota dishonors New Mexico as a maverick gun-toting renegade state. Recently an appeals court opened the door to Wildearth Guardians to end the mercenary and cruel wildlife killing program that Wildlife Services had waged against wildlife. Game and Fish’s stated mission is to preserve wildlife for future generations. Heartlessly murdering the innocent is not part of its stated mission.
We are surrounded by states like Colorado and Arizona that outlaw trapping. We call ourselves the Land of Enchantment, but our acts of murderous folly conspire against this title. As recently stated by the Guardian, a paper written by a group of 14 leading ecologists and biologists from the U.S., Europe and Australia and published in the journal Science, calls for the establishment of an international initiative to conserve large carnivores and help them to coexist with humans. Failure to protect our top predators could soon have devastating consequences, they warn.
“Globally, we are losing our large carnivores,” said William Ripple, the report’s lead author. “Many of them are endangered and their ranges are collapsing. Many are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally. And, ironically, they are vanishing just as we are learning to appreciate their important ecological effects.”
Ranchers abetted by certain political appointees want to maximize their profits. Never mind the lupophobia, the fear of wolves, that still exert its power over people’s imaginations. Cows that have run roughshod over a once magnificent continent full of forests may have their creditors, but it should not be in place of beings like bears who do not covet cows and mountain lions whose impact on livestock is less than negligible.
Would you rather see this ?
Or this ?
As a documentarian I blew the whistle on this generation of the elephant slaughter in the tremendous “Agony and Ivory”(written by Alex Shoumatoff) article launched by Vanity Fair in August 2011. The article went viral and galvanized the world. Initially, even the New York Times said it was not interested in elephants. Now the entire world is mobilized to stop the greatest mammalian genocide of our time.
Predators, too, need salvation or the children who are being asphyxiated with video games and Disney movies of Bambi and Nemo will wonder what adults did to the life force. In a time when a remarkable Love Song to the Earth created by singers from Paul McCartney to Sheryl Crow and others are pleading for the planet, it behooves us come to terms with what is at stake, a potentially lifeless planet. Why do we even consider slaying the irreplaceable? For money? For pride? For greed? We can never afford to tell the children “This is where the wild things were.” The masses of nature-deficit-afflicted kids will become a swarm of half children who will be deprived of the meaning of life, playing video games and adding to the tenor of the already most violent country on earth. As an elder in East Africa once told me, “The only thing left will be to kill ourselves!”
Fish and Game must become an agency not for the execution of life but its maintenance, not so called management, a euphemism for outright murder. In The Great Gatsby, the author remarks that this country, the great sweep of its forests, was once commensurate with our ability to wonder. What indeed has happened to our ability to wonder? We are persecuting existence to the point where, if we are not very, very careful, we may well have nothing but a high-tech slum as Edward Abbey once warned us. Let us choose life!
Teaching your children well?
Cyril Christo is an Academy Award-nominated documentarian who has published three books on wildlife and is working on a feature documentary on the elephant and a new book on Africa, Lords of the Earth. He lives in Santa Fe.
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