Recently I've been following the news out of Ishpeming, Michigan about a cow moose and her two young calves who wandered out of the Upper Michigan woods and into the city. Click here to see a video of the three that a private citizen took as they came into town. People are gathered around watching the moose as they wander around the edge of what looks like an abandoned road or railroad grade behind an old school before the police come around and begin to work to separate people from animals. Later on, Ishpeming Police Chief Jim Bjorne made the difficult decision to have the cow euthanized by conservation officers from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). In the days since then, Chief Bjorne has taken a large amount of heat for his decision as the public has risen in outcry at the destruction of this animal. This all came to a head Wednesday night as Chief Bjorne had to state his case before the Ishpeming City Council and about 40 concerned citizens.
The bottom line people, is that Chief Bjorne made the right decision. I know that many of you are upset that such a rare animal, and one who was mothering two young calves, would be shot, but there were bigger stakes than just one life. The moose family was seen running, chased by a throng of people across a major highway that carries tens of thousands of cars each day. Later, after the euthanization, one of the calves was seen being chased by cars at the Ishpeming Ballfields. That is totally wrong and dangerous to both human and animal. The cow moose was shot when it approached a group of officers showing nothing but "confusion, agitation, and exhaustion" according to Chief Bjorne. But it didn't have to end this way. The bottom line is that the police didn't kill that moose people, you did.
It's true. I know that you don't want to face it but it is true. It was the actions of the humans attempting to interact with this wild animal that led to its destruction. The humans chasing the moose throughout the city eventually drove it and the police into a situation that no one wanted. If the spectators had kept their distance from the start and allowed the moose to find its own way out of town without being harassed, none of this would have happened. I don't know if you remember a couple of summers ago when a baby moose wandered into the Park Cemetery in nearby Marquette, people were kept watching at a distance and the moose left on its own by the end of the summer. The same thing happened last week when a moose walked onto the campus of Northland University in Ashland, WI. But it too was left alone and it left town on its own. No harm, no foul. But not in this case.
If you watched the video at the end of that link up above, you probably noticed early on how the camera panned to the left and viewed the cow moose. It then rotated 180 degrees and panned to the right and viewed the two calves. If you are anything familiar with geometry, then you will understand that that puts the camera, and the people standing around and operating it, squarely between the cow and her calves. Anyone with any sort of outdoor experience will tell you that between mother and child is the absolute worst place to be in nature. So basically, the throngs of people pestering these animals, who were nothing but lost, put themselves into harm's way. Also, the group of people ran across the busy highway chasing the moose, again putting themselves into harms way. So as you can see, it wasn't the moose itself that was causing people to be in harm's way. It was the people disregarding safety to see an animal that you can see at any zoo or in the wild if you take the back roads on occasion. By the time it was done being chased and trying to keep its calves out of danger, it's no wonder why the cow moose didn't have her head on straight. It was sort of like those people who commit "suicide by cop." This moose was forced into a situation where it was a public danger, forcing Chief Bjorne to make the decision to have it destroyed. He didn't kill the moose. The public did. And that's the painful truth.