Where the Wild Things are Secretly Reintroduced

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Before they got religiously green, the Western Europeans killed almost all their wolves and bears. What’s left of their wildlife is pretty timid. In America, we have big, wild country and a population of mostly greenish city slickers. That is the deadly combination that makes for animal attacks. The protected critters get bold, and people in any leafy area less urban than Central Park sometimes get et.

When I lived in France in the early 1990s, I began collect- ing news stories of animal attacks in America. Some of my French friends loved to hear these stories, because they flattered European notions of America as a wild place.

Not to be outdone, the French have now decided to release Slovenian bears in the Pyrenees. Two·or three shepherds opposed and disrupted the first release. So the government released the second bear (named “Franska,”or “Frenchy” in Slovenian) at a secret time and place. So, if all goes well, we will have stories from Europe of animal attacks within a few ursine generations. (It takes that long for animals to realize that we got religion and are no longer a threat to them.)

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