The first week of October was glorious on Mount Rainier with intense colors of red, orange, and gold covering the lower slopes.
Just one week later, everything was covered in snow.
I saw this beautiful Black Bear in the back woods of Reflection Lakes just before early snowfall came to the mountains. He was bingeing on berries and leaves from blueberry bushes that covered a large meadow, fattening up before winter hibernation.
He is probably in his den now, deep in sleep.
Thank goodness he doesn’t live on a wildlife refuge in Alaska. If he did, he might be killed as he slept. Or if this bear was a female and gave birth to cubs, they might all be killed.
In April of this year, the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era ban on killing hibernating bears on wildlife refuges in Alaska. Bears can also be tracked and shot from aircraft as well as baited and killed. The same applies to wolves and coyotes, who can be killed in their dens with their pups.
Most people – including many hunters - would call these actions cruel and unsportsmanlike.
I call these actions a violation of the rights and sanctity of nonhuman animals. As stewards of the Earth, we should be better than this.