In my wanderings yesterday, I met a grizzly bear — what a delight.
That delight faded when I realized that it was being used as a promotional billboard for a provincial ministry. It bore ear tags that proclaimed:
Huh? What in the world is RAPP, and why would a grizzly be used to promote it?
My immediate reaction was that RAPP must be part of a grizzly tracking programme and that the folks that stapled this message to the bear’s ears wanted to know where it was.
How naive of me.
RAPP stands for Report All Poachers and Polluters. The number is also used to report conflicts with wildlife. Ok, these are a worthy causes. But, does it merit stapling the message to a Grizzly’s ears? I tried phoning the number, but the recorded message left no option to ask that question of a human.
I invite readers to suggest other worthy governmental promotions that might be stapled to provincial wildlife. I offer a few examples:
• Highways could have deer marked to proclaim: Watch for wildlife.
• All spirit bears could have ear tags that said: Na-na, na-na, you can’t shoot me.
• Forestry could put flags on caribou antlers that said: We support logging.
• Maybe schoolchildren could be used to promote the Education Ministry’s bargaining position.
I chatted with the grizzly about the strange adornments on its ears. It assured me that it was deeply embarrassed to be used as a billboard for any governmental programme. It said, “It just hurts.”
At this point, I remembered Aesop’s fable of the lion and the thorn. “Would you like me to remove them for you?” I asked. “Yes, please don’t let me appear in your blog this way.” I said, “Consider it done.” The grizzly smiled its appreciation.