~ Experiences, Projects & Jottings of Painter Jan Clizer, Specialist Painter of Scottish & Celtic Music Subject Matter ~

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bringing Back the Bears

My dad, who’s 82, scans the morning newspaper and keeps me up to date on issues relating to wildlife – always a fascination for him. He excitedly lays out articles for me to read and discuss over breakfast. (And people wonder why I’m the way I am – raised on fur-trapping techniques & classical music!!) Earlier this week it was an article about a record-breaking bull elk, bagged somewhere in Utah. Impressive. Appeared as though the trophy rack it had carried so proudly could’ve gored 4 people at once, effortlessly. Note to self as I went over the details with dad: “Another thing I REALLY enjoy about Scotland – minimal wild beast encounters when exploring outdoors.”

Living in north and north central Idaho is a great privilege – I deeply value wild land and resources and the importance in preservation and maintenance of same. We need to protect every square inch we’ve got left worldwide. And the world would be a terribly dull place indeed without the myriad fascinating forms of life that inhabit our planet. But…. what a glorious treat to go wandering in remote Scottish hinterlands knowing there’s scarce chance of becoming dinner for a hungry wild carnivore larger than you, or accidentally disturbing a family moment in the local elk herd (been there, did that one, healed up nicely, thank you!).

Returning from several lovely days on the coast last autumn, imagine my amazement at discovering a wee sign posted on the A832 partway between Kinlochewe and Dingwall in Wester Ross advising caution when exploring – a pair of bears has been introduced in the area! There goes the stress-free hillwalking! Joking aside, I applaud intelligent efforts at the difficult and highly charged issue of reestablishing some level of balance in ecology in wildlands. I wish it and others like it success. There is nothing like the thrill of experiencing the presence of our truly magnificent fellow tenants on the planet, firsthand. I wasn’t able to locate additional information on the bear project, but do expect to find a newspaper article all about it neatly laid out for early morning discussion in the near future.....

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