August 9, 1994
An Alaskan airport has an unusual item in their budget; special turnstile gates for moose.
Alaskan moose are gigantic. We had a cow and calf living in our neighborhood in Kenai. She stood over six feet tall at the shoulder. We also noticed if any vehicle, no matter its size, encountered a moose on the highway, the moose won.
No wonder airport officials were concerned when moose continually wandering across airport property. These animals thought nothing of lying down on the runway for a snooze, swimming in the float plane basin, and grazing along landing strips. Special gates had to be installed, turnstiles that let moose out but do not allow them to return.
Wildlife can be a problem anywhere. Today a magpie landed right outside my study window. When I moved, it flew to the fence but returned as soon as I looked away. It squawked at me as if to say, “I was here first, get out of my space.” Sometimes I think magpies (and mosquitoes) really plan on taking over the world!
Whether animals plot against us or not, the first chapter in the Bible describes what God intended our relationship to them should be: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”
This plan of dominion over all creation is often misunderstood; environmentalists sometimes blame Christians for exploiting nature. Clearly, the Bible never advocates such exploitation. Adam was told to “tend and keep” the garden, indicating God meant we were to take care of the world. It provides food and other resources necessary for our survival yet God forbids we selfishly abuse or pollute that supply.
Having dominion means nature’s creatures were intended to be subject to man. Some of that is apparent in the domestication of cattle, sheep, chickens and other birds and animals. Some are trained to work: oxen, horses and carrier pigeons; or to perform: lions, tigers, and talking parrots. Others are tamed as pets.
Occasionally someone shows an ability to relate to animals in an unusual way such as feeding wild birds out of their hand. I used to be able to catch horses that others had to lasso. However, most animals require work to tame or train. They have minds of their own and are not interested in doing what we tell them to do.
In fact, most wild animals run the other way when they see or smell human beings. They seem to understand something has gone wrong in the heart of man. Instead of respecting us, they are afraid of what we might do to them.
It was not always like that. Adam and Eve lived in harmony with creation. A few generations later, Noah built an ark and was able to put on it two of each living creature, but even by his generation, sin was beginning to have its effect. Not only were human relationships rapidly deteriorating, so was the proper relation of man to animals. Because of sin, we have now lost most of the kind of dominion we were intended to have.
The airport in Alaska previously used 54 regular gates but, wouldn’t you know it, people were always leaving them open. Once one man could command a multitude of animals into a boat, now it costs thousands of dollars just to keep a few moose out of our space.