Thursday, August 25, 2011

Truant Grizzlies Find Employment

Dateline Yellowstone National Park.

Life on the dole.
Due to plenty of handouts and a too-easy life on the government dole, the number of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park has tripled since they were placed on the endangered species list in the mid-1970s.

Stray bears with nothing useful to do have increasingly been getting into trouble, roaming in packs, staying out carousing until all hours, turning over cars and breaking into facilities.

Meanwhile, park officials, facing deeper and deeper budget cuts have had a hard time maintaining order.

Turning over a new leaf. Now a new program aims to employ those very same grizzlies by putting them into uniforms, giving them some training, and sending them back out onto the trails as employees.

"They work pretty much for peanuts," said Berry Dingle, Park Superintendent. "Or rather, they get by living off anything they can confiscate and eat. It's great. Our payroll costs have dropped significantly, and we no longer have to worry about pensions or paying for health care."

This is perhaps the logical outcome of budget cuts combined with recent experience employing caged grizzlies in testing supposed bear-proof products.

What's ahead? So far no one is talking, but there are widespread rumors that other parks may try this: alligators at Everglades National Park in Florida, for instance.

Some cities are possibly even considering using packs of rats to replace expensive human garbage collection crews.

More information from NPR: Grizzlies Test Products To Keep Out The Average Bear