Every day you see it. Something stupid that we are doing. Or that we did. WE as in HUMANS.
I am cruising Facebook and I see this video… it happens to be a 2 minute clip from the original 7 minute clip. You’ve probably seen it. A photographer and an elk. It appears the photographer is being head butted by the elk. He wants to play. I grew up camping and hiking with the family. I’ve been taught that observing animals is one thing that needs to be done from a safe distance. Animals are wild. Animals need to be left alone. We don’t touch the animals. We don’t feed the animals.
I share the video on my feed and immediately a friend shares a link to the full 7 minutes. I watch the full 7 minutes and I’m feeling immense anxiety through the whole thing. I could NOT sit there calmly while this is going on. I’m struggling with so many questions.
FINALLY, someone drives up to rescue him. Then I wonder how his photos turned out…..
Here’s the full 7 minute video in case you haven’t seen it, so you can feel what I’m feeling.
Ok, so you’ve experienced the 7 long minutes of anxiety that could have turned out really, really, really badly. Stupid human.
It gets worse. It turns out this elk was euthanized after this video went viral. Not BECAUSE of the video, but because this was the final straw with this particular elk. Let’s be clear, this was not the elk’s fault. This was OUR fault.
The following is taken from an article by WBIR.com
“Wildlife biologists use aversive conditioning techniques to haze animals that are becoming food conditioned due to visitors feeding them. These techniques usually include firing loud firecrackers, physically chasing the animal, and shooting them in the rump with bean bags or paint balls.
Between September and last week, park biologists aggressively hazed this elk 28 times to discourage it from approaching the road and visitors. They captured, sedated, tagged, and re-released it on site. This technique has proven to be much more successful than relocation because it causes the animal to associate the place and people with an unpleasant experience. The elk did not respond to attempts by biologists to change its behavior. The behavior that it learned from park visitors who had given it food had been too strongly ingrained.
By initiating physical contact with a visitor, the elk displayed an unacceptable risk to human safety. After becoming food conditioned, the elk did not respond to any attempts to keep it out of the area and away from humans. When wildlife exhibits this behavior it often escalates to more aggressive behavior creating a dangerous situation for visitors.” To read the entire article, click here.
I wanted to share this because this is unnecessary. This is OUR fault.
We have got to stop the insanity.