Trash

A reader writes:

You quoted Palin saying, "What I see in a bear, in any other species in their natural habitat, they are self-sufficient. They are not sitting around waiting for something else to catch that salmon for them and feed them."

Actually, bears, like other predators, will scavenge another animal's kill when convenient. A grizzly will have no compunction about running off another, weaker predator and taking its kill. Not to mention their preference for human refuse over "meat on the hoof". I wonder if Palin would point to a homeless person rummaging, bearlike, through garbage and assert that this is an example of the kind of self-sufficiency she is for?

In fact, grizzly bears in Yellowstone were once famously dependent on trash:

Forty years ago, grizzly bears in Yellowstone were dependent on garbage intentionally fed to them in Yellowstone Park. When the Park Service abruptly closed these garbage dumps, some thought this would cause the extinction of grizzly bears in Yellowstone because the bears had become dependent on garbage. While grizzly populations declined following dump closure, the end result was a growing population (4 percent to 7 percent a year for the last 15 years) that has grown and now survives entirely on natural foods.

(Photo from Flickrite fionabearclaw, who captioned: "One of the many popular attractions throughout the Central Adirondacks has been visiting the Village Dumps to watch the Native Black Bear feeding.")

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