Letter: Chirikof Island cows are living history; leave them alone

December 21, 2013 

Rachel D’Oro of The Associated Press painted quite the dreary picture of the lives lead by the Chirikof Island cattle herd. These poor abandoned cattle eking out a bleak existence on a far flung Alaska island sure contrasted nicely with the file pictures of the actual cattle on the island. Those cows live in what I can only assume is a cow wonderland. An island 5 by 10 miles wide covered in grass with no natural predators, humans or fences.

While I have no doubt that the cattle are hard on the bird population I find the history and story of these cows much more valuable than a natural bird population at pre-bovine counts. This herd has persevered for many years on Chirikof, first as provisions for whalers and then as a formal cattle herd. In any case much of their existence has been without direct human care.

As to archeological remains on the island, these cows are living history; let them be in their home.

— Jon Cannon


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