Wildfires in the western regions of the United States continue to rage on. In correspondence, reports meet the public frequently, concerning destruction to natural environments. The reports more frequently highlight the destruction to people’s homes and places of business.
However, what has not made the news among this summer’s wildfires is that animal populations throughout the West are experiencing the hardest summer of their lives. Among threatening conditions, conservation agencies ask the state of Nevada to call off this year’s bear hunt in light of the ongoing wildfires.
While overall, the plea makes sense. The region’s animals experience trauma after trauma. Overall then, these agencies have legitimate reasons to suspend this year’s hunt. In addition to losing their homes, food, and water sources, the state’s bears currently undergo a forced migration. Simply, they have no choice but to move on to new territories.
While adapting to new surroundings is traumatic enough, the forced migrations may result in territorial problems. Wildlife advocates claim the move could potentially throw the social dynamics of creatures that are typically territorial.
Photos from fire-ravaged areas show many of Nevada’s bears injured by the wildfires. Others show them in search of food and water in areas that the blazes have demolished.
Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity declared, “We need to give our bears a break. Climate-fueled catastrophic fire isn’t just hard on us, it’s also hard on wildlife.”
Humans have the potential to relocate and rebuild. However, bears must simply move on, as their homes take much longer to grow back to a healthy, livable state.
Bear Hunts Create More Trauma for Traumatized Bears
According to ABC News, Nevada’s bear hunts typically involve hunters accompanied by packs of dogs that chase the large creatures into the trees. Hunters then locate both dogs and the bear by the canines’ GPS-tracked collars. The outlet stated the Nevada bear hunts begin on Wednesday. However, eight of the 10 permitted bear hunting areas have either burned in the wildfires or are still burning.
Don Molde of the Nevada Wildlife Alliance stated, “Our black bears are iconic animals, and at a time of dire need the fate of individual bears is just as important as the fate of the population.” He concluded with, “Now is not the time to add additional harassment to what they’ve already suffered.
Further, ABC highlighted that not only are our planet’s natural environments suffering the consequences of climate change. The earth’s animal populations are also suffering at the hand of climate change, as most prominently exhibited by the persistent disappearance of the polar bears’ home environments near the planet’s polar ice caps.
Overall, combined heat and drought add significant stress to the daily lives of black bears. Additionally, scientists have found that the warming effects have had detrimental impacts on the animals’ mortality and reproductive rates.
Conclusively, Jeff Dixon of the Unites States’ Humane Society stated, “For wildlife policy to be science-based, wildlife management professionals need to factor in global warming’s impact on ecosystems when setting those policies.