The grizzly bear that killed a hiker in Denali National Park in late August 2012 was later killed by officers. The first time in recored history that a grizzly bear has killed and ate a human in Denali National Park should make news, but what, if anything should be done about it? And what about the life of the bear, was it okay for the large boar to be killed by authorities?
First, it’s terrible that anyone is killed by a wild animal and it’s likely that animal activits and others will ask for new and different regulations. I say NO! Leave the regs alone. There is risk in life. The existing regulations are fine, they have worked for almost 100 years. In this case, new rules or new regulations wont fix a thing, and more importantly different regulations would not have saved Mr. White’s life. The rules now in place work, leave them alone and move along. Lets morn the loss of a fellow human and photographer, but lets not freak out and start changing rules.
All the evidence shows that the bear was not acting agressive toward the photographer. Was Mr. White too close? Should he have NOT been hiking alone? Did he have a 10.2 oz. Counter Assault Bear Deterrent with him, did he use it? I cant answer these questions, I wasn’t there. What I do know is that a grizzly bear can, if given the right conditions cover more ground, faster than any human and regulations will not stop them. We do what we can to avoid conflict, and I think we have adequate rules in place. This seems to have been a tragic accident. I hope the National Park Service, Denali National Park does not follow suit with more regulations. In Denali the rules are working, one life lost in 95 years is fate, not fault! It seems that wildlife photographers are getting fewer and fewer opportunities as parks close more and more land all the time. New rules wont change a thing, unless they completely close more areas to visitors – that would be a HUGE mistake!
The other question, should the bear have been killed, is a good one. Again, under the circumstances I say yes – and I’m not one who takes killing lightly. According to reports, the bear was protecting his human kill and not allowing officers to safely enter the location. Moreover, the bear basically got away with eating a human and received no negative response, which could help bolster the bears nerve to eat another human. I think taking the bear out was the correct action. I’m sorry to hear it came to this, but as far as I can tell, this incident was handled properly.
One human killed by one bear in the history of Denali – I think things are fine, leave it be. RIP Richard White.
If you agree or disagree, please let me know your opinion!