This past March, Ted Williams reports (“Kill, Baby, Kill”), Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s Board of Game authorized the state to “grant permission to private hunters and trappers, including supervised children as young as 10, to use wire loops to snare black bears and grizzlies by the feet. For the first time ever hunters may transport themselves and their equipment by helicopter. And they may now shoot bears over bait—even in summer, when sows are nursing cubs. The lucky cubs get shot along with their mothers. The board also authorized managers to gas wolf pups in their dens.”
The governor’s eradication of wolves and bears is more than an affront to human decency; it’s actually based on highly suspect science, and it may not even benefit the moose and caribou it’s supposed to protect. John Schoen, who studied bears for the Department of Fish and Game for 10 years and who now serves as senior scientist for Audubon Alaska, told Williams, “Bear snaring doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve written letters to the Board of Game on behalf of Audubon asking them not to be so aggressive. It’s a sad state of affairs. Bears have low reproductive rates.”
From a policy so ridiculous to nature so sublime, this issue conveys both extremes. Consider the breathtaking plant portraits shot by Jonathan Singer (“Petal Pusher”), which are evoking comparisons to John James Audubon’s masterpieces. “I marry art and science,” Singer, a podiatrist, told senior editor Alisa Opar. “People are mesmerized by these photographs, and because of that they want to know the science.”
People will surely want to know more about Bonaire, a largely undiscovered island gem teeming with wildlife, after reading Ted O’Callahan’s “Parrots of the Caribbean.” Drinking in photo editor Kim Hubbard’s luscious images—including those of the yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot, whose fate hangs in the balance—is a completely transfixing experience. “I see so many beautiful bird photos with my job that I don’t always appreciate how hard it is to get a good picture of something in the wild,” Hubbard says. “Bird photography really is like shooting sports, only the playing field is the entire sky. You’re never really sure where they’re going to go. It takes a tremendous amount of time and patience, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be rewarded. But when you are, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Please remember to do your part for bird photography by entering Audubon magazine’s first annual photo awards. For information, see the opposite page.
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