Rob Chaney—a lifelong resident of Montana, a veteran reporter for the Missoulian (and 2020 Nieman Fellow), and author of “The Grizzly in the Driveway: The Return of Bears To A Crowded American West”—discusses the impetus for writing the book, agreeing with the assessment that, at times, it reads like more of a mission. Chaney explains what he means in one of the book’s initial sentences, when he writes “Two kinds of grizzlies roam the world.” Using this sort of duality as a jumping off point, Chaney addresses my observation that one theme of the book involves the various—and, in some cases, decidedly different—ways that people, groups, organizations, experts and others, view grizzly bears and how they should be treated. A core element of “The Grizzly in the Driveway” is the animal being placed under protection of the Endangered Species Act, and the longstanding implications of that decision: Chaney talks about that action, including why an animal typically gets added to that list, and a few of the significant things it means for the grizzly story—especially relative to a motif of the book exploring, from the standpoint of many of those factions, the likely outcomes of grizzlies being removed from the ESA protection, or “delisted.” He also speaks to the striking—what some may deem downright surprising—importance of mountain bikes to the discussion of grizzlies—and to the broader calculus of what to do about them, so as to minimize grizzly-human encounters. Too, Chaney notes how the spiritual beliefs about grizzlies amidst Native American cultures can constitute conflicts with how officials intervene when the bears, say, become too habituated to humans—or otherwise end up in the driveway. [Grizzly photo: Courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department] (https://uwapress.uw.edu/book/9780295747934/the-grizzly-in-the-driveway/, https://missoulian.com/users/profile/robchaney/)
ALSO: I spoke briefly with Emily Minor, who has dedicated herself to fostering kittens for the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach. She recounts deciding to step into the realm of fostering baby cats (“I needed more joy in my life”), the challenges involved—including a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the resident cat, Ray Allen–and the joys of caring for kittens, three or four at a time, before they reach their two-pound weight, at which point they’re eligible to be adopted out. All this, and completely untouched by any instances of a “foster fail,” so far not tempted, she explains, to give one of these temporary boarders permanent status, mindful that doing so would constrict her future fostering capabilities. (https://www.peggyadams.org)
COMEDY CORNER: Brian Regan’s “Flipper & Gentle Ben” (portion) (https://brianregan.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
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