Reflections on Tracks, Traps, and Trails
Last week was truly a highlight for all of us at Wyoming Untrapped. Our event, Tracks, Traps, and Trails, focused on what compassion for living things really means. Very appropriately, March 3rd was World Wildlife Day, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Asher Jay really brought Wyoming Wildlife into context with wildlife around the world. Asher shared stories about her encounters with wildlife around the world- from elephants who mourn their dead to lions who bedded down right next to her tent on the Serengeti. With each story about global wildlife she told, she brought the issue back to Wyoming wildlife.
Asher posed many thought-provoking questions: How many lives is too many? How are our own rights affected when we deprive rights from other living things? How can we, in good conscience, continue to determine the fates of other species? When the story of a species is cut short, how does that affect our human story?
Throughout her presentation, she superimposed images of free animals and trapped animals, effectively illustrating the state of what a life should be, versus the reality imposed on it by current trapping methods and regulations. Indeed, the detriment to wildlife being harvested for consumer goods is not just an issue for the oceans or Africa- it reaches into our backyards. The world-wide context for everything wild was clear: elephants are being hunted to near extinction for their ivory, sharks are killed for their fins, and thousands of furbearers in Wyoming are harvested for their fur.
After Asher’s presentation, we raised a challenge to the audience: support us and our Traps and Trails Campaign, which will establish furbearer trapping setbacks in Teton County. Each attendee was given a postcard that they can mail to Wyoming Game and Fish to show their support for setbacks. It was clear to us, given the questions, concerns, and comments raised during the Q & A and after the presentation, that the folks who attended feel the same energy we do, and that trapping setbacks are just around the corner!
We extend our sincere thanks to Asher Jay, our volunteers, our event sponsors, and all of the attendees; we are extremely pleased that so many in our community have become a part of trapping reform in Wyoming.