Times are changing. For the better, people say. Among other things, we have begun to recognize empathy and compassion as guiding principles in our coexistence with nature. We also increasingly extend the feelings that were previously reserved for our own species to non-human animals.
Over the five years that Wyoming Untrapped has been dedicated to wildlife, we are aware of several Wyoming ranches that have chosen to offer wild animals a safe haven, to be trap free. The number is increasing statewide. One of these ranch owners is Scott Johnson in Sheridan, Wyoming. His photos of this wild, free and untrapped bobcat warm the heart and renew our hope that there is growing compassion to coexist with our wild neighbors. We are sharing his wisdom.
“We bought this ranch several years ago and moved to Wyoming. We have always loved animals. We did a wetland project and took down about 9 miles of barbwire. Out here where you see the animals right out the window and look them in the eye it really makes us want to protect them. I was never a hunter. We have now stopped eating meat. The more I watch them the more I see how they care about their lives and those of their families just like we do. I’m almost 64 and we hope all these animals are around for our grandkids and future generations.”
“Coming to a new state, it is best to be a good example and work with the neighbors. There are a lot of good ranchers that protect wildlife and provide food for people. It would help a lot if people ate less meat. We bought a ranch but I guess I’m not really a rancher, maybe a wildlife rancher. I am lucky to have some good ranchers nearby that graze some cattle on our place and cut some hay, the cattle do what the bison once did. I hope that people will see that the wildlife are also doing what they have always done and are helping. Coming to a new state it is best to be a good example and work with the neighbors. We don’t eat meat anymore so we invited a couple of them over for vegan lasagna before Christmas. I hope trapping is stopped everywhere.”
Most of my focus is on the environment and wildlife.
“Most of my focus is on the environment and wildlife. I don’t do anything without careful thought and study. This is America and that is how it works. The ecosystem also works fine unless people start getting involved in what should live and die. Stop by if you like and see what we are doing, I never miss a chance to speak up for wildlife or learn something I can do better.”
“I think pictures are a great way to show how beautiful these animals are. It also takes words and actions to educate people about how important it is to protect them. Since we bought our place several years ago we protect everything and have more predators and prey. We hope to see the bobcat with kittens this spring. The attached picture is of what I hope is her mate, not very clear since I took it through the windshield. He was just strolling along the wetland dike and had some young pheasants following him.”
They Have A Point of View
“Many non-human animals have very rich and deep emotional lives and that they care about what happens to them, their families, and their friends. They have a point of view, and just like us, they want to live in peace and safety, absent fear, pain, suffering, and abuse. ” Dr. Marc Bekoff