Nature Notes

Vol. VI July 1st, 1928 Summer Season No. 1


The National Park Service Act passed by Congress in 1916 was primarily for the creation of a protective bureau.

First it stated that the National Parks must be administered so as to conserve their natural and historical objects, and their wild life. Strict enforcement of rules prohibiting the keeping of dogs and cats along with complete Federal control of game have shown satisfactory results. A few years ago deer and bear were not often seen in Mount Rainier National Park, but now are more abundant and often seen. One reason for this is that constant protection has served to partially remove the fear of man from these wild animals.

It is the policy of the National Park Service to preserve all animals native to a park, but to regulate the number of predatory animals to a point consistent with the number of animals they prey upon. If a large number of deer are to be had, Cougar cannot be too plentiful. Predatory animals tend to increase in a region where their food becomes more plentiful and some check on these may be necessary. On the other hand, the entire destriction of such animals may cause an increase of the animals they prey upon to a point in excess of their natural food supply. Deep forest cover, rough topography, and plentiful food supply serve to make these problems of animal balance less acute in Mount Rainier National Park. Deep winter snows have made a problem of food supply for the deer of the park and caused the deer to wander beyond the confines of the park in winter. This problem has been largely met by making townships adjacent to the park game sanctuaries.

It took many centuries for man to learn to recognize and respect the rights of his fellowman. Especially was this true if his fellowman was of another race or a lower civilization, but it is only in recent years that man began to recognize that the animals immediately below him in the zoological scale are also entitled to some rights and are endowed with temperaments and personalities. It is indeed high time for man to know animals better and to treat them better. They are entitled to a square deal just as helpless children are. The only acquaintance some men have with wild animals, the only view they get of them is the view of the sight of the end of a gun, and the only real interest they have in animals is a fear that they will not hold out as targets as long as their ammunition does.

There has grown up in recent years a new school of sportsmen who believe in the, "Wild Animal Bill of Rights", and who believe that it is time for us to turn over a new leaf in a more just and humane treatment of our wild animals. This school of sportsmen carry a camera instead of a gun. They follow the animal into his native habitat, they study his individual characteristics; but theirs is not a selfish motive. The leave him for others to observe and enjoy, they leave no trail of destruction behind them nd they return from the hunt conscience free and acquire a craft more skillful than that of the gun hunter.

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