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June 3, 2020

Moose Corner by Lynda & Steve McCormick


As a break from our usual discussions, we want to talk here about anthropomorphism. It has been said that many wildlife biologists frown on naming wild animals, especially as a means of attributing human characteristics to them. While this attitude used to be the prevailing opinion, the tide has recently turned, with anthropomorphism becoming more acceptable in the field. In any case, we believe that it’s neither right nor wrong to name wild animals, but rather just a matter of preference. And our preference is to name moose, because it helps to identify them over the seasons, and it allows us to empathize with them as individuals. Our anthropomorphic approach gives us a much greater understanding of their nature, but it has its downside, especially when those we befriend die. We can’t look at photos like this of Digit and Billi in their remaining days without feeling some sorrow. But such is life with animals, wild or domestic or human. As Tennyson said, “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.” Back to our usual topics next time. —Facts, observations, & tips taken in part from the Apple iBook Ain’t Moose Behavin’! amath.colorado.edu/~stevem/book.html

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