#2. A Bear Relocated to Replenish Its Species Refuses to Have Cubs and Slaughters Livestock Instead
In 2006, the French Pyrenees were facing an extreme bear shortage, which is a problem we weren't aware existed until this very moment. Slovenia had some bears to spare, so they arranged to have a handful of animals flown in to the forested mountain range in an effort to replenish the French bear stock. Of those bears, only one managed to give birth to any cubs. Another one wandered off a cliff and died because it apparently didn't understand how mountains work, despite the presence of the Alps and the Dinarides in its home country of Slovenia.
Gravity always feels kinda different when you're on vacation.
The third, a bear named Franska, turned out to be a batshit crazy spinster with a heart cast in violence and destruction. First of all, Franska was about 17 years old, which is a little too old to breed. Grabbing the oldest bear in Slovenia and dropping her in the middle of a French mountain range is a terrible solution to pretty much any problem, but "need to increase supply of bear infants" is probably at the top of that list.
Not only did she have zero interest in propagating her species, but Franska seemed intent on eradicating the local sheep population with the laser-like focus of a mad scientist -- farmers in the area claimed she was responsible for more than 150 sheep deaths during her year-long stay in the Pyrenees. They wanted her captured or killed, and went so far as to stage a riot outside of local government offices, dumping sheep carcasses on the ground like empty juice boxes. They even sent death threats to the mayor. To recap, this is all over a single bear.
Though one crueler than the average bear.
So the farmers took it upon themselves to try to get rid of Franska by attempting to chase her out of the mountains with firecrackers and gunfire (two things normally reserved for American holidays), and leaving chunks of broken glass laced with honey along the forest floor, because they apparently saw that work in the darkest Looney Tunes cartoon ever made. We're amazed they didn't paint a bunch of grenades up to look like berries and scatter them around the forest too.
Franska eventually wandered out into a roadway and was killed when she got juggled between two speeding cars like Meet Joe Black. The farmers all celebrated her death like the toppling of Saddam's statue, and resumed blaming their sheep deaths on wolves and wild dogs.
#1. The Endangered Species Act Is Bringing a Species to Extinction
The scimitar oryx is a kind of antelope, despite the mythological creature its name suggests. It was hunted into near oblivion by people who believed they were a source of unicorn horn, even though oryxes have two horns and unicorns do not exist.
It does kind of look like one horn, from just the right angle.
The animal is officially considered extinct in the wild, yet there are a small number of living specimens scattered throughout private collections all over the world. As of last year, 11,000 of them were living on ranches in Texas, where they're bred and raised for private hunts, because Texas does not give one yodeling buttshit about anything.
Honestly, though, the oryxes don't have it that bad -- they roam huge open spaces ranging in size from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of acres, and their populations are kept in perfect control, with no more than 15 percent of the animals being hunted in a given year. The fact that Big Texas wants to keep the species alive for hunting is arguably one of the best things to happen to the oryx since humans decided to start killing them for fun.
Texas Hunt Lodge
Live free then die.
At least it was, until 2012, when the oryx finally received the full protection of the Endangered Species Act at the urging of several animal rights groups. This meant oryx ranchers could no longer freely offer oryx hunts, whereas before they could earn a cool $3,500 to $22,500 from the death of each animal. Despite the Fish and Wildlife Service's special exemption allowing ranchers to continue breeding oryxes for hunting as long as they bought a few special permits, 90 percent of Texas' 400 oryx ranchers refused to continue operating under the new guidelines, because if you can't shoot an endangered species on your own terms, then what the fuck is the point?
Some ranchers sold their oryxes at livestock auctions. Others straight-up shot their oryxes, including one rancher who threatened to kill all his oryxes as vermin, even though doing so would've been totally illegal under the Endangered Species Act. So, to clarify, you can't kill an endangered animal for no reason, but you can kill one for money.
You can only kill to preserve the balance of life. This too can be explained with a Disney song.
Surely this was an unexpected development for all of the animal advocacy groups that pushed for the stricter enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. There's no way they could foresee that cracking down on the oryx ranchers would actually end up hurting the oryxes ... oh wait, never mind. They totally saw it coming, and pushed for it anyway: Priscilla Feral, head of the animal rights group Friends of Animals, says she would rather see the oryx go completely extinct (not "no more left in the wild" extinct, like we mentioned earlier, but "utterly wiped from the face of the planet" extinct, like the dinosaurs) than be kept alive on hunting ranches simply to be killed for sport. She totally supports the ranchers exterminating all of their oryxes in the wake of the newly enforced regulations, because she believes it's a better fate for the animals. The oryxes themselves would probably disagree.
Related Reading: On the upside, elephants are evolving tusks just to avoid poachers. And while we may suck at saving animals, some of them are pretty good at saving us. Lulu the pig even managed to save her owner from a heart attack. For a look at the ways you're making your pet hate you, click here.
You know what else qualifies as animal torture? These viral videos.
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