We may disagree on some particulate points but I am a staunch supporter of the humane treatment of animals, animal rights, am against human encroachment on their domain, and advocate educating people more about them for ecological habitat benefit and always advocate their protection and the protection of their habitat areas. Do we disagree here?
I have never come right out and told you not to have a large cat as a pet: I'm stating the facts. My beliefs are directly in-line with the consensus among most animal advocates as well as the NFS and NPS, who are dedicated to preserving their existence and habitat, as well as providing the public as much information as possible to be safe, so that their existence can continue without being exterminated. I am providing you with useful links for exotic pet owners. I told you yesterday that my neighbor has a wolfdog that often plays with my own dog together for hours on end and it is gentle as can be.
Your threat that I might lose you as a friend and staunch advocate is an empty one because I believe that you are neither. If you were on a county commission that had to consider the question of whether to ban ownership of exotic animals in that county, you would vote to ban my wolf, cougar, and tiger, if I had those animals. Thus I see no friendship and no advocacy.
Your advocacy for the lives of those animals seems to me to be strictly limited, to circumstances and locations where those animals will die out. The entire government of India cannot protect the few remaining tigers that they have, but it's taking the entire U.S. government plus some terrorist groups to make a dent on the population of tigers in the U.S. You can't see any further than "well they should live in the wild." Just how in hell do you expect me to do anything about limiting the encroachment of humans on the lands that tigers live on? It's 2006, I live in a crowded metropolis, and people I work with are speaking proudly of their five children, or their ten children, or their god-awful number of grandchildren. Just how am I going to stop them from moving into another housing development that takes another square mile of land away from the wild animals? Do you have any idea what reality is, at all?
Then I've got the so-called conservationists fighting me on one thing, the idea of raising the animals in small preserves operated by individuals instead of insitutions. There are thousands of tigers in the U.S. in such places and eliminating them, which the so-called conservationists work hard to do, will kill thousands of tigers. What, we've got them to spare while we futilely fight to keep people from killing them in India?
I might as well shove this damned keyboard through my monitor after telling you to go to hell.
I made no "threat that you might lose me as a friend"? And no where did I even hint at the suggestion that my advocacy is limited to "locations where these animals will die out." Quite to the contrary, I advocate enrichment of land and resources where Nature and all her animals can thrive without incurring any such threat. That's what we're all about here. Second to Alaska, Arizona is one of the strongest supporters of continued wildlife habitat. Human encroachment, especially from Californians moving in and developers buying up land to supply them with new housing developments, is a hotly argued issue here. I am very much affiliated with the National Forest Service here in terms of my studies and research, and also close correspondence. My advisor is one of the foremost authorities on cougars in the world and is often called on by local governments and the NFS for advice. I live on private land but the few homes that are here are completely enclosed by the Coconino National Forest: the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in the world. My house is surrounded by herds of elk and is home to black bears, wolves, skunks and mountain lions and coyotes to the south. Why do you think I chose to live here?
What do you say about the issue of animals that have to die when their human owners are forced to give them up? You've already told me that pitbulls are "killing machines", a phrase that is only used by people who condone having them killed.
Are you willing to risk all of their lives just because some of them will kill people and some of them aren't being taken care of exactly right? That is a condition set by the so-called animal rights people.
This gets back to the issue of abandonment that I already addressed above. It's inhumane to take them from their mother at a young age to raise them as a small cub in captivity because it prevents the cub from learning the necessary survival tactics that it needs to exist in the wild. Then if the "human owners are forced to give them up" - which is really just poor foresight on the owner's part - there are few if any alternatives left. It would be inhumane to just let it go free in the wild because it would either die or else most likely search out food in a human area, causing panic and ultimately leading to it being euthanized. A zoo would be an option, but unfortunately you'd have trouble finding one that has the space available to take it because they are already filled with their own captivity breeding programs.
I try to align myself with the National Forest Service on these issues and that is why I used the term "we." Maybe I will work for them in the future but I did help put together a Mountain Lion Management Plan a couple years ago that was submitted. What we try to do most is educate the public and prevent encounters with mountain lions so as to protect, maintain and sustain their existence. Once they get habituated to people, they easily learn that they can rely on them for easy food, then they get aggressive and start stalking, and then we might have to put them down. We are trying to prevent the human-mountain lion interface for the purpose of their survival, but public safety has to always be the priority. We have a brochure called "Tips for Dealing with Mountain Lions" that is distributed to whoever wants it and it is distributed to people who live near or in mountain lion habitat areas.
The section on "Tips for Living in Mountain Lion Country" are:
1. Don't feed wildlife: by feeding deer, elk javelina or other wildlife in your yard, you may inadvertently attract mountain lions, which prey on them.
2. Deer and rabbit proof your landscape: Avoid using plants that deer prefer to eat; if landscaping attracts deer, mountain lions may be to close.
3. Landscape for safety: Remove dense and/or low-lying vegetation as these provide good hiding places for mountain lions and coyotes, especially around children's play areas; make it difficult for wild predators to approach a yard unseeen.
4. Closely supervise your children: Keep a close watch on children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside before dusk and not outside before dawn. Talk with children about mountain lions and teach them what to do if they encounter one.
5. Install outdoor lighting: Keep the house perimeter well lit at night - especially along walkways - to keep an approaching mountain lions visible.
6. Keep pets secure: Roaming pets are easy prey for hungry mountain lions and coyotes. Either bring pets inside or keep them in a kennel with a secure top. Don't feed pets outside; this can attract javelina and other mountain lion prey.
As you can see, the focus is all about preventing the human-lion interface, and the urban-lion interface, and the livestock-lion interface. The later costs us lots of money needed to reimburse ranchers. Effective management involves protecting the lions as well as humans and we believe that education is the best way to do this. Our last resort is to be forced to euthanize: something that we do actively try to avoid at all costs. Yet, sometimes it is inevitable. The Sabino Canyon-Tucson incidents were a wake-up call that allowed us to review and amend our protocol. I think the main problem in this case was that we waited too long before acting, even though we were actively consulting with local authorities, the mayor, and city council. The public went into hysteria and the whole community became divided over whether or not to euthanize them all, or to save the lions. I think we should have went in earlier with tranquilizers and had them relocated much sooner, rather than waiting till they started showing up on elementary school grounds and started stalking. When they start to stalk people, they've already become too habituated to humans. Once they lose their natural fear of humans and start stalking people, they have to be put down. As stated above, the one lion that was put down came way too close to killing two boys, and there's a whole list of at least 40 or 50 other incidents that I could post that came before this that led up to this unfortunate euthanasia.
In our own Management Plan that we submitted, we emphasize the need for:
1. Documenting all interactions (encounters, incidents, attacks)
2. Public Engagement and Information into Dealing with Mountain Lions (Education)
3. Public Safety: preventing unsafe situations, making sure people remain safe, and making sure that they understand the risks.
4. Effective Management for the Protection of Animals as well as Humans
5. Having an Effective Protocol in Place: Agency Response
6. Examining the Feasibility of Available Relocation
We have specific sections on:
1. Human Interface Protocol
2. Urban Interface Protocol
3. Livestock Interface Protocol
4. Game/Prey Interface Protocol
5. Mountain Lion Behavior Knowledge Gaps
6. Habitat Studies
Last edited by valich; 12-12-06 at 09:58 PM.
Then what is your vote on allowing private ownership of captive bred animals?
You can infer your own conclusion from what I just posted. We try to prevent the human-lion interface for the purpose of maintaining and enhancing their habitat and their survival. When they get too close to people, hysteria breaks out, and this is exactly what happened in Tucson. Then all kind of wild nonsense ideas go through peoples' head but in the end the result is the animals death - or to the death of innocent people, because some people allow them to become habituated in the first place. And if we want to prevent the "risk all of their lives just because some of them will kill people and some of them aren't being taken care of exactly," then this is what we need to prevent. Once they get habituated to people and lose their fear of people, there's no turning back. This is why we distribute the guidelines listed above: to keep the public safe, and to keep the mountain lions safe.
What does that have to do with buying my own lion from a breeder?
Private owners are already preserving animals that have lost habitat. Why wait until it is critical before deciding to let more people into the game, and why lock people out of the game now?
Zoos have limited funding and do go under. They also spend an awful lot of money for their space, a lot more than private owners. No one should be required to exhibit animals. A ranch is a lot better than a zoo that way.
I get the impression that Forestry Service doctrine about animals in human hands is that they should be treated like museum pieces, only a very few of them, kept in places that are expensive to build and maintain, and pay absolutely no attention to the knowledge that these are less optimum conditions for the animals, maybe even less natural, than can be provided by a hobbyist on a relatively small budget.
I don't believe that the doctrine of the "human-lion interface" should be applied to situations in which an owner raises an animal from a cub. I think that somewhere the Forestry Service way overstepped its bounds. Ironically, it is going to wind up protecting an ever-dwindling population, not only from humans who will eventually just push them out of existence, but from humans who would make room for them and keep them alive.
I think you are definitely not my ally here. I place the rights of humans to own animals above the rights of the people who would curtail those rights. I also believe that private ownership is the only solution available to us right now. Seeing that the Save the Tigers Fund people rejected a most reasonable offer from the Chinese government, I think that the last possible reason to respect anything that comes from the STF people. I will be working to rid the world of them and other animal rights dingbats.
Wildlife (especially in Africa) is one of the greatest resources the continent has, becasue it is especially vital to tourism. Believe it or not, unlike you, there are people who want to actually venture more than 10 miles from home, even as far as these places to see this. As for India. the bizarre suggestion that seeing a tiger on TV is anything like seeing one in its natural habitat is plain stupid.
Originally Posted by Baron Max
I have flown in a microlight over the Victoria Falls and nearby Game Reserve and it is simply a breathtaking sight. I dont care how Hi-Def you TV is, it simply doesnt compare.
Experiencing a tiger up close is absolutely wonderful, too. If they are properly cared for they don't have a thing wrong with them.
We still have some pretty vast national forests, especially in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Arizona. I think your view that "Forestry Service doctrine about animals in human hands is that they should be treated like museum pieces" is not accurate at all, and no NFS personnel would agree with this. But don't confuse the National Forest Service with the National Park Service either. Our national parks are much smaller than our national forests so this is where you might get this idea from. And it's not that there'a anything wrong with the NPS, but they have to deal a lot more with visitors and tourist communications - tours, educational lectures, onsight museums -than the NFS, while the NFS is more out in the wild. Their job is also more difficult in that they have to deal with more infractions that occur in the campgrounds: feeding the bears, trying to ride buffalo in Yellowstone, or even just trying to tell all those campers to keep their food properly secured so as not to attract wildlife. Yosemite, especially, from what I hear has a lot of problems. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. I've read stories about bears ripping off car doors to get at the food inside, and it's all because they get habituated to human scent and start associating it with food. But it gets a lot more complicated and riskier than this when you're deep in the heart of grizz country.
Raising a mountain lion as a captive pet. Few if any people in the NFS or the NPS are going to come out and tell you what to do. That's not our job or role in life. Again, I'm using the tense "we" because I feel close enough affiliated with the NFS to act in some capacity as a spokesmen for who they are and the values that they represent, and that I share. Personally, I will say this. I think that to do something like this requires a lot of planning and foresight. I've stressed to you enough on the above posts the importance of establishing connections and also making sure that you have a well-qualified exotic animal veterinarian where you live. Firmly, I will say to you: this is a lifelong committment. It should not be taken whimsically or lightly and it is a big responsibility - much bigger than just owning a domesticated dog or cat or any other "domesticated" animal. I would view raising and owning a cougar or a tiger in the same way - if not more so - than one should view having children or getting married: it is a lifelong committment. I would say more so because you'd have to deal with the safety of the entire community around you and their own individual, possibly adverse, reactions. You'd have to deal with your neighbors and the entire community as well. You would have a lot on your mind to deal with and a lot of critical decisions to make for the next 25 years.
I get the message about having enough money and preparation to take care of the animals, but we've got to get the animal rights people off everyone's backs. Without them stirring up trouble there wouldn't be so many ban laws. I believe that they are also deliberately sending people into zoos to get bitten by animals and are releasing big cats near cities.
Yes, a lot on my mind to deal with, but those agitators have got to go. They are raising the price of food, causing a lot of human misery and animal deaths, a lot of property damage, and are truly terrorists.
By the way, for someone who has worked with the Forestry Service you don't seem to know much about animals.
I said I might work for the NFS - or the USGS - someday. Why do you think I don't know much about animals? This is what I do? I've owned and been around wildlife for almost 50 years. My favorite past time - when I'm not hiking through the forest with my dog(s) - is adventure wilderness camping and exploration into pristine forested areas. My current research is on the "Paleogeography, Ecology, and Evolutionary Habitat of Brown Bears." I've owned ten dogs, two cats, scores of snakes and turtles, flying squirrels, skunks, raccoons, fresh water and tropical fish, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels, and many species of birds. Probably forgot some? And I've always wanted to be a veterinarian since I was five years old. Any suggestions on how I could possibly learn more about animals?
It doesn't look like it when you talk like being half wolf should make a dog unreliable and when you speak of pitbulls as "killing machines." Everyone who has studied the actual histories has found that pitbulls do not rank first in inflicting injury or death on humans. Now if I want to track down all the BS I am going to have to go through some of the opposition's websites, but the CDC should have the best statistics on actual deaths.
Maybe we were talking past each other on the big cat issues. I don't know. Roy Horn insists that the incident was not an attack and I think he's a lot more likely than you or I to know that.
The only thing I said about wolfdogs is that my neighbor has one and she told me that it is half wolf. However, when I lived in Idaho, other people told me that most wolf-dog hybrids were only about 10% wolf. You seem to read my posts and then reinterpret them to mean something that I don't say? You've done this three times already in your replies. Reread what I posted.
I do not like pitbulls. I have personal experience of this because a pitbull took a fistfull chunk of meat out of the side of one of my Elkhounds. I had to pry its jaws apart with my bare hands and then rush my dog to the emergency after-hours veterinary clinic to save his life. As I stated, they were bred to kill - as an amusement for people watching, and most probably betting, on which one would win, like cock fights. They were placed into a "pit" to attack each other like "bulls," hence the name "pitbull." Anyways, having this near-death situation, where a pitbull almost killed my boy, can you blame me for disliking them?
If I were Roy Horn, having lived, raised, tamed, and befriended tigers all my life for the last 50 years, I certainly would go out of my way to do whatever it takes not to defame them or put them down in any way. I don't think we should take what Roy says as objective fact. The facts are that the tiger did turn on him, carried him off stage in its jaws, piercing his neck along the way, and almost killed him. Roy says that the attack was instigated by a few ladies with large fluffy or hairy heads in the first row that wanted to pet Montecore. Maybe the tiger was instigated. Roy says that Montecore was trying to carry him away to safety. This I find hard to believe. Nevertheless, instigated or not, this unexpected - but we really can't say "unexpected," "unpredictable" would be more accurate of a term - attack could have happened against anyone in the audience. If you were to disagree with that, then you still would have to agree that the same similar situation could happen to any other individual owner who tries to keep a wild undomesticated predatory large cat in captivity. So let's say the cat was acting instinctively to protect Roy as it would its own cub. A human does not have the same layer of protective fur to prevent the penetration of its canines into human flesh as it would in a situation with its own cub - so the human, whoever that individual might be, dies.
What this case shows is that an individual, or even two individuals: "Siegfried and Roy" - are still in danger around an unpredictable undomesticated predatory animal. The same thing goes for Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend. Treadwell was a nutcase. And I say that off the record from being a spokesman for the NFS or NPS, although I doubt that anyone who works for them would disagree with me. It was a situation just waiting to happen and everbody knew it.
It is much better to provide wild animals with the large expanse of territory that they need to free-roam and hunt, then to lock them up in a cage or in your home. And this is what needs to be protected. I fight for this. How many times have I read stories about alligators, caimans, pythons and other exotic animals just getting flushed down the toilet or abandoned in an urban community when the owner has decided he's had enough and can't handle it anymore? And then this adds to the histeria and misbeliefs about their actual threat that leads to the overall attitude that they all should be killed?
What do you define as "predictable"? If I do something because I am frightened or startled, does that make me a psycho or unpredictable? If you think that a tiger is unpredictable as compared to other animals, you really don't have experience with large herbivores.
I also disagree with your definition of "in danger." If S&R are in danger when they are with the tigers, then I am in danger when I am in a car or with a horse. It's pretty much the same thing. One in so many thousand times something goes wrong, that may be your definition of unreliable and my definition of a damn good run and proven reliability.
I also disagree with your definition of nuts.
I still perceive you as someone who would work with others to force your definitions on me and I disagree with that as well.
Now what was it that you wanted to be my advocate about again? I also disagree about your statements about pitbulls too, because the animal that severely injured one of my dogs was a Great Dane, and you don't know hell on wheels until some of them get into it. You were actually able to pry a pitbull's jaws apart? Ain't going to happen with a Great Dane. As a matter of fact one dog that I've seen bite another during a tiff was at least part pitbull and he didn't injure the other dog, in fact he avoided it pretty well. I've seen a Rotty do the same thing.
That's why they gather statistics. The animal that you had a bad experience with may be one that fewer people have bad experiences with.
Also, what adds to the hysteria is all the hype and slanted publicity. You look like you've internalized some pretty biased publicity.
My quest for freedom irritates you, doesn't it?