March 05, 2006

Animals moving around

From the Cañon City Record in 1906:

Some weeks ago, W.A. Stump noticed coon tracks on his ranch at Four Mile. Never having seen a coon in Colorado, he was at a loss to account for the tracks. He did not think it was a coon and was quite curious to know what was making the marks of the Missouri quadruped.

("Missouri quadruped." I just love the slightly tongue-in-cheek, pseudo-elevated tone of the old newspaper writing.)

From the Colorado Division of Wildlife, "Probable wolf sighting along Colorado-Wyoming border," March 3, 2006

Though a majority of the sightings are coyotes, dogs, or other animals, a recent report in north-central Colorado's North Park area appears to have some merit.

On Feb. 16, district wildlife managers with the DOW were able to capture brief video of a suspected wolf. The DOW was able to observe the animal because a landowner quickly reported seeing it about 10 miles south of the Colorado-Wyoming border north of the community of Walden. Biologists and wolf specialists who have examined the video say the animal seen on tape looks and behaves like a wolf. . . .

The animal on the video tape had no visible tags or collars. Such indicators could more easily link the animal to federal efforts to reintroduce the northern gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park. Many offspring wolves lack any markings, but so do wolf-dog hybrids that could also be in the wild.

A different sort of language: "suspected wolf." That reminds me of cop-speak: "The suspect exited the building" (heard on the KRDO-TV news two nights ago) versus "The guy ran out the door." Instead of a humorous high style, we have the dispassionate, objectifying language of bureaucracy.

As a reporter and outdoor columnist for the Cañon City Daily Record myself (1987-1990), would I have felt obliged to write "the alleged wolf"?

No comments: