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Animals should not be punished for human actions

Humans should respect wildlife habitat and preserves rules

The summer months often bring road trips exploring wild and far out places. But along with that often comes the endless outpour of news articles relating to wildlife attacking humans in various habitats around the country. In past years, these attacks have frequently brought on the deaths of the attackers because of the mentality that “if they do it once, they’ll do it again.” But these animals are generally provoked by those being attacked, and shouldn’t be harmed or to blame for responding to the actions of humans entering their surroundings.

People seem to forget that in settings like national parks, or anywhere outdoors, humans are the ones trespassing into the territory of these animals and their homes should be respected as such. With that in mind, the animals that choose to protect their homes by combatting the populations that enter it shouldn’t be euthanized or relocated because of this.

For example, a few years back a runner was mauled by a female bear who was with her cubs and startled by the runner. Despite the fact that the runner was able to survive the attack with a few injuries, the bear was still captured and euthanized, without further investigation.

Other instances include an attack from a few years ago in the backyard of Denver, Estes Park. Two women were taken to the hospital after a bull elk had attacked both of them on separate occasions throughout the day. The elk, who was believed to have a history of aggression, was later tracked down, captured, and euthanized without further investigation into the attacks.

The more recent attack in Yellowstone National Park of the 9-year-old, proves to be a reminder of the idea that in environments such as Yellowstone, humans are just visitors and the animals shouldn’t be chastened because of the lack of diligence to abide by national park guidelines and regulations. The girl who was part of a large group of tourists within 5 to ten feet of a large bull bison for at least 20 minutes. While the bison that attacked is not currently being penalized for its response, the situation could have been avoided if the group had restrained itself to staying the 75 feet (two bus-lengths) away from the bison as stated on signs around the park and flyers handed out at park entrances.

Often times, these attacks happen because of the disregard for park regulations or knowledge about nature and wildlife all together. Sometimes, like the particular elk attack in Estes Park, they can happen due to unusually aggressive animals. However, the endless viral stories that come out of tourist season each summer prove that people need to be more aware of their surroundings, wildlife, and regulations in order to prevent these attacks from happening. The wildlife present in these national parks around the country are just trying to ensure their homes and young are protected and they shouldn’t be punished or killed for doing so. After all, humans would react the same way to an intruder in their home.

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