More humans, less wildlife...
Sep 12, 2013 | 1792 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I am on the mountain at least five days a week and I am in constant contact with wildlife. This experience has given me many opportunities to photograph my encounters with bears, deer, elk, weasels, owls, more varieties of birds than I could name and snakes on a daily basis. It has nothing to do with the cattle and everything to do with “new locals” who have no idea how wildlife lives and their habits.

This letter is in response to the July 25 letter from Vicki Honour and the Sept. 5 letter from Tim Walsh in The Times-Independent.

Deer and other wildlife see humans, their dog, and yes, even Tim Walsh on his mountain bike, as predators. Tim on his bike most certainly is not part of the ecosystem. You’re seeing a decline in wildlife because there are more humans.

One might assume that being in the area of wildlife guarantees wildlife sightings; this assumption is flawed. Vicki Honour claims to have lived here for 35 years, and if we were to compare time spent in this area I’d reveal that I was born here 46 years ago and have remained here ever since, not to mention my family originally arrived here in the 1800s.

Thirteen years ago, when Tim Walsh claims to have moved to Moab, there were as many cattle as there are now. I find it more plausible that the cattle trails are full of more people than ever and the wildlife is forced to seek refuge from the bikers, hikers with their dogs – and Tim Walsh himself on his mountain bike.

Last month I saw some mountain bikers traveling quickly down a trail. They neglected to see an injured owl. One of the bikers ran the owl’s wing over due to the fact the owl was unable to pull his wing in. The owl was making a clicking noise, but the bikers did not hear it. I gathered the wounded owl out of the path and phoned the Forest Service, which retrieved the owl for medical care.

Does this mean all bikes are a danger to wildlife and should be prohibited from the mountains? If you have an agenda you would say, “Yes.”

I understand that cattle are easy for you to blame when you understand little to nothing about the work we actually do and how closely we work with the U.S. Forest Service.

What is disgraceful is Tim’s lack of knowledge toward local ecosystems and his inability to admit his time on the mountain could be a large contributing factor to the “lack of wildlife.”

—Colleen Tibbetts


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