Vail Daily editorial: Leave ’em alone | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily editorial: Leave ’em alone

the Vail Daily Editorial Board

David Letterman’s late-night TV show years ago introduced a segment called “Stupid Pet Tricks.” That spawned another long-running bit, “Stupid Human Tricks.” You may have read about a recent really stupid human trick in Yellowstone National Park.

That story involved tourists putting a bison calf into the back of their rented SUV because “it looked cold,” then driving the critter to park headquarters.

The result — beyond what was almost certainly a big cleaning job for the rental company — was a calf that was rejected by its herd after rangers attempted to bring it back.

Ultimately, rangers determined the most humane course of action was to euthanize the young animal.

This doesn’t rise to the level of tragedy, since young bison die in the wild on a regular basis. But that creature certainly didn’t have to die for no reason at the hands of stupid humans.

The story is mostly the tale of the towering stupidity many tourists bring to our national parks. But there’s also a useful reminder for those of us who live close to national forests: Please leave wildlife alone.

A handful of moose have decided that Vail is a good home. Spotting those giant animals in our human environment is a thrill, but we’ve received photos of moose roaming in Vail Village while human visitors get uncomfortably close.

Here’s a reminder: Unlike elk or deer, which will run away if they’re spooked, moose are fairly spook-proof. Anything that size can lead a fairly unperturbed life.

But, like a bison, anything that size can do some real damage if provoked, and moose have a reputation as fairly ill-tempered beasts.

Moose will react to a dog — even a small one — the same way they’d react to a wolf: with overwhelming force. Moose can also cover a lot of distance in the brief time it takes a human to utter a phrase not fit for a family newspaper.

It’s easy to believe that wildlife is coming into our home when the opposite is true. Those interactions can often lead to fatal results for wildlife.

It’s a thrill to sight wild animals, but, please, keep your distance.