|Gray wolf- FWS.gov|
|Collared elk cows- MDC|
|Missouri river otter- MDC|
"Today, otters are at the center of considerable controversy. Opening otter trapping met strong opposition from animal rights groups who filed law suits challenging legalized otter harvest. On the other hand, pond and lake owners and commercial fish hatcheries regularly report fish depredations by otters whose numbers have grown to nuisance levels in some locations." Missouri's River Otters
There is a significant difference between the wolf situation out west and our bears and otters. While wolves are classic "charismatic megafauna," they are also obligate carnivores, surrounded by thousands of square miles of delicious sheep and cattle which are the center of the local economy. On the other hand, wolves are a major tourist draw, affecting the other major industry of the area. There is little middle ground between the fans and foes.
Bears will unlikely become a tourist attraction and they rarely eat meat and therefore don't represent a major economic threat. Their increasing population is an indicator of a healthy forest. In the next few years we will be hearing a lot about "Bear Aware" measures to remain good neighbors. Bringing in dog food and securing your trash is small price to pay for remaining on good terms with these beauties.