MOOSE INTERVENTION! Injured animal in wild spurs on huge national debate
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/26/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
It's something that is inherent in nature. A moose was discovered in pain from an open wound in Minnesota. Wildlife experts determined that it was as a result of a wolf attack -- and left the moose alone. However -- officials did intervene in the case of a baby eagle with a broken wing, which was broadcast to thousands across the world. The question arises: when should humans let nature take its course and when to intervene.
Should man intervene to save the life of an animal living in the wild -- or let nature take its course?
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It depends on the circumstances in each case, and often it depends on how man has affected the situation," Doug Inkley, a senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation said.
Though every animal is needed to maintain genetic diversity, Inkley told the Associated Press that there are other biologists who prefer deferring to nature's wisdom. Intervention typically occurs with endangered species.
According to Yellowstone National Park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett, park officials "rarely intervene." The only case she could remember was when a grizzly bear was struck by a car several years ago. Officials then tried saving the bear because of its "protected status." The bear died anyway.
A "hands-off" policy was initiated by officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced when they went live with an "EagleCam" earlier this year. The Minnesota EagleCam gained a huge online audience as three eaglets hatched, though soon after it became clear that one of the chicks was having issues.
Eagle-watchers demanded action by posting a number of complaints on the Nongame Wildlife Program's Facebook page. Calls were also made to the governor's office as well, which caused officials to pluck the eaglet from its nest.
"Social media had a big impact on our decision-making process," Lori Naumann, the program's spokeswoman says. "My phone blew up. My email blew up. It started with a little bit of concern and then it just grew into almost violence. I had to delete a few posts and block some people from our page."
The eaglet was then taken to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, where vets determined it had a systemic infection and a broken wing. They were forced to euthanize it after determining it had no chance of surviving in the wild or living pain-free in captivity.
Executive director Julia Ponder says that treatment decisions depended on the bird's prognosis for returning to the wild.
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