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  • Spring and Wildlife Comeback Follow Up

    Posted by Dan from Madison on March 27th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Click photos for larger.

    Yesterday I posted about Spring and the comeback of wildlife in my area and I solicited comments from others in different areas of the country to see if their experiences are the same. It seems like a resounding “yes” (both at ChicagoBoyz and at Life in the Great Midwest). I am always amazed at how nature can adapt and thrive.

    If the cougar population goes up, EVERYBODY here in rural Wisconsin will be packing heat, especially farmers (Wisconsin is one of only two states that has not decriminalized conceal carry – the other state is Illinois). Personally, I think that livestock will be targeted by the cougars and that a farmer will simply shoot them and toss their carcasses into one of their fields before they can get steady footing. I sure would shoot it if I were a farmer and was losing livestock.

    Wolves have already made somewhat of a comeback in the northern parts of the state, and I have even heard of moose and elk up there as well.

    On to Mr. Doughty’s email:

    Good morning. I’m writing this as an email rather than as a comment on the Chicago Boyz blog because I’ve got some photos that I want to include.

    I live in Colorado, in a development on the western edge of Colorado Springs, in what’s known as an “urban-wildland interface”. Here is a list of larger animals that I’ve seen from my deck or on the road up the hill to my house in the past year or so:

    Deer on a daily basis
    Fox
    Wild Turkeys
    Bobcats
    Coyotes
    Bears (actually ON my deck on a number of occasions)
    Mountain Lions

    All this within a 15 to 20 minute drive of the middle of downtown Colorado Springs. There is no doubt that wildlife is making a huge comeback in urban/suburban areas. Most people think this is great, as do I with the following reservation: When wildlife returns, predators soon follow. Here in our area, some people are growing increasingly concerned with lions. Here are photos taken this past Monday shortly after midnight outside the house of a guy that lives roughly a third of a mile (as the crow flies) from me. He has motion activated lights and cameras at various points around his home and quite often gets shots like these:


    This is a large lion, looking in the sliding glass door of this guy’s bedroom, approximately 10 feet from his bed where he and his wife were looking at it through the glass.

    We have had instances of large dogs (over 100 pounds) being attacked, people being stalked, lions around homes in the middle of the day, etc. Inevitably, I fear, we are going to have an attack on a person. Of course, the majority of the people here believe that lions are not a “real” problem and that those of us who have expressed concern are “fear mongering”, etc., although almost none of them have done any research or know anything whatsoever about these animals.

    If you’d like to learn more about the whole potential problem with lions expanding their range into urban areas and the reasons for it, an excellent book is The Beast in the Garden. I highly recommend it.

    I already ordered that book on Amazon and can’t wait for it to arrive. This subject is very interesting to me – and a little scary.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

     

    10 Responses to “Spring and Wildlife Comeback Follow Up”

    1. Shannon Love Says:

      Strangely, I think animal encroachment may have a maturing effect on environmentalism. People who live and work in close proximity to nature are less likely to be radical environmentalist than someone city bred who lives in a skyscraper.

      Overboard environmentalism relies on an overly romantic view of nature made possible only by isolation from it. On well edited TV wild animals appear nobel, amusing, harmless and odorless. Up close wild animals are gluttonous, annoying, destructive and smelly.

      The more contact people have with wild animals the less romantic their image of them and the less willing they are to support extreme measures that produce only marginal benefit.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Nice kitty.

    3. Knucklehead Says:

      Wow! When I lived in Colorado Springs (actually Fountain) back in ’79-80 coyotes were common but there were no mountain lions I ever heard of. You had to get WAY back into the hills for that.

      BTW, this AM there was red-tailed hawk perched on the railing of my front porch. I live in a standard subdivision in a pretty darned crowded section of coastal NJ.

      Yesterday I mentioned a bunch of animals that have increased. I’d like to add a couple more: moles and voles. They’re everywhere anymore.

    4. Dan from Madison Says:

      Hopefully the hawk will chow the moles – I saw one just outside of my place of business yesterday, in the middle of an industrial park. Hope he will keep the rodents down as well. There are zillions of rabbits in this industrial park for some reason, I assume that may be why the hawk has moved in.

    5. Fred Says:

      Get Fluffy a spiked collar.

    6. ElamBend Says:

      It’s strange that places where many of us walked around in the wild unarmed (even included just a staff) are now areas where we have to at least consider it.

      As for my story of animal encroachment, I was in Kansas City last weekend and was telling my mom about armadillos in southern California and she let me know that people have been running them over lately in Kansas City…armadillos.

    7. Jay Manifold Says:

      I knew they’d been getting closer but haven’t yet seen any within about an hour’s drive to the south of here. Can’t say I’m surprised. Milder winters may be part of the cause.

    8. Dan from Madison Says:

      Update on the Wisconsin cougar sightings: an article in the paper yesterday says that it is indeed wild from DNA testing on hair, and that it (them?) probably walked here from SOUTH DAKOTA. Amazing.

    9. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Palo Alto’s experience with cats. The one shot was in a neighborhood of 7,500 sq ft lots with houses built 50-60 years ago.

    10. Dan from Madison Says:

      Good story Mrs. Davis, thanks. I can’t wait until my copy of “The Beast in the Garden” arrives to read more on this subject.