Following last night’s bear interview I somehow have a stack of grizzly bear links. We learned today that the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has run out of things to shoot and kill and recommends we wipe out grizzly bears. Or maybe he’s just attended too many moustache parades… Anyway, not even Sarah Palin advocates shooting animals for the sake of wiping them off the face of the earth - and especially not grizzlies. Of course, in light of Friday’s Gail Collins column that position could soften. The Collins money-quote and more after the jump… Collins cites Gloria Steinem with this set of bear facts:
In real life, they are famous for their reproductive freedom. … Mama grizzlies mate later than other bears. They have two cubs instead of four. They wait four years — about twice as long as other bears — between having cubs. And after they’re pregnant, if winter is hard or their health is not good or the food supply is uncertain, they re-absorb the embryo into their body.Ok, ew, but also, neat! But lest I go rushing to pixel with facts I only read on the internet, some quick checking: It’s likely Steinem learned these facts from her own magazine, which draws heavily for its reporting from MountainNature.com, a site run by a Canadian naturist. Wikipedia essentially backs up the bullet points on the reproductive process but does so with such an emphasis on how much the odds are stacked against the grizzly prospering that it makes for a pretty depressing read. More authoritative is this page from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (pdf). The grizzly details are smoothed a little here as well, using “the embryos may not implant (develop)” versus Wikipedia’s “abortion can occur” and Steinem’s “re-absorb the embryo.” All of that is an awful lot of research when all I really wanted to say was that last night’s segment reminded me of Clark’s Trading Post up in the White Mountains in New Hampsire, the web site of which includes a photo of a bear on a scooter. I’m sure that’s offensive and cruel in the eyes of some of you but in the abstract, a bear on a scooter is pretty funny. Also, in the course of writing this I learned that Grizzly Bear is also a band. Their web site is very pretty and their music has been played a lot on MySpace, though it’s not really my cup of tea.