Thursday, April 26, 2012

Big Banks Are Like Yellowstone Park Elk Fending Off Occupy Protester Wolves, Apparently

Posted by on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Bank of America.
  • Bank of America.
What's with the animal analogies lately? Not to be outdone by Girls' portrayal of female relationships getting the reverent baboons do it too treatment in the New York Times, banks coordinating with one another on Occupy protest surveillance are now being compared to elk in Bloomberg Businessweek. You know, elk—those majestic, graceful, four-legged ungulates that form a ring to protect themselves from preying wolves in Yellowstone National Park, according to Brian McNary, director of global risk at Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, who is working with banks to “identify, map and track” protesters. Wait, wait, do you guys hear that? Oh, it's just John Muir rolling over and banging his head against the side of his grave.

Courtesy of Businessweek:

"Banks are preparing for Occupy demonstrations at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Chicago summit on May 20 and 21 by sharing information from video surveillance, robots and officers in buildings, giving “a real-time, 360-degree” view, said McNary, who works on the project.

Banks cooperating on surveillance are like elk fending off wolves in Yellowstone National Park, he said. While other animals try in vain to sprint away alone, elk survive attacks by forming a ring together, he said."

Last time we checked, elk don't have video surveillance on wolves, but you never know. Elk do seem kind of sneaky.

The nature and forestry comparisons don't end there. Another tidbit from the same article:

Last year’s anti-bank protests were “like a big forest fire that was suppressed and put out,” Chris Swecker, the former head of security at Bank of America, said in an interview. Firms are studying protesters because “there’s also the opportunity for spontaneous fires to spring back up again,” said Swecker, who runs a security-consulting firm in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Damn, finance guys must be really into Planet Earth this year. But that Yellowstone wolf vs. elk analogy is actually a little more complex, if you take the longview. Bear (har har) with me while I nerd out on this one: When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, where stationary, largely unregulated elk had been depriving beavers of willow plants in the winter for decades, a "cascade" of ecological restoration followed, according to an Oregon State University study published in Biological Conservation last year. Suddenly, hunted by wolves, elk had to move around in the winter, providing a food source for beavers, who built new dams and ponds. The presence of wolves meant that food became available for other species who followed the wolves after the hunt. “I call it food for the masses,” Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a piece for the Yellowstonepark.com website last year.

Huh. "Food for the masses" actually does sound awfully 99-percent-y.

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