Depiction of a shooting in northern Louisiana, Smith Bennett, 1875

“As with so many boons that the Europeans found in the New World, the lure of such abundance proved deadly for critters unaccustomed to such aggressive predation. Some sixty million American bison hunted to near extinction in a hundred years (or so) of European occupation. Three to five billion passenger pigeons, once so numerous the skies darkened when a flock flew over, hunted to extinction by the early 1900s. Googlia just told me about the sea mink, a larger, semiaquatic version of American mink, hunted to extinction for their fur by 1870.

My heart cannot imagine the mindset that inspires such slaughter. That’s the danger of judging the behaviors of the past with the attitudes of today, I suppose. I can bear to consider no other explanation.”

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