Thursday, January 13, 2011

Collateral Damage - Bighorn Sheep - Glacier National Park

"UN-AUTHORIZED PHOTO"

I took this photo of a radio-collared female Bighorn Sheep several years ago in Glacier National Park near the Many Glacier Hotel. I had just watched a park ranger shoot the ewe in the head, blowing her brains out all over the snow..
When I confronted him for shooting this sheep, he told me that she had been overdosed with drugs, when researchers darted her the day before, to place the radio-collar around her neck.

Since she couldn't get up twenty four hours later, they decided to kill her.



The ranger wanted my roll of film because: "It was an un-authorized photo". You can see that he didn't get it.
I wonder how many times something like this took place with no one there to observe or record it, or if they were there, they were intimidated into giving up their film.


Researchers don't report it when they kill an animal because they don't want to get fired for being incompetent or banned from a National Park. They list animals like this dead Bighorn as "Unknown Cause of Death" in their reports.


Park officials, like the ranger that wanted my film, try to cover up these type of research mishaps because they don't want to look bad and of the fear that funding may get cut if contributors find out.



I am sure this same scene has been repeated again and again, by researchers that use these devices and capture techniques all over the world.



If you google "Tracking wildlife by telemetry" you will see that there are thousands of wildlife research studies using radio-collars, going on at the same time, often with the same results.

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