What Do You Do With a Bear That Kills a Person?
After a Yellowstone grizzly with cubs killed a hiker, the park’s chief faced an agonizing decision—whether to let the bear go free or put her down.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyoming "Jack-booted executioner" is not a title that Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk ever aspired to own. But as a torrent of emails and phone calls began flooding his office last week—most from wildlife lovers in a desperate attempt to keep a mother grizzly bear alive—Wenk was given that label, and far worse.
Even legendary primatologist Jane Goodall, who has become a huge fan of grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, reached out to Wenk from her home in Bournemouth, England, pleading with him to spare a sow whose tragic encounter with a hiker had elevated her into the realm of international cause célèbre.
"In my 40 years working for the National Park Service, I have never encountered