Monday, January 4, 2016

Predators in Cities

Mountain Lion P-22 in Los Angeles - National Park Service
The New York Times recently ran an article titled "Bright Lights, Big Predators", discussing the implications of predatory wildlife that move into urban areas to co-exist with human society.  Coyotes in Chicago number 4,000 and they have gone from a pariah to an accepted part of the landscape, snacking on the odd pet but otherwise just another irritating neighbor.  Leopards in Mumbai are now an accepted part of life.

Why cities?  You might argue that it is only fair as we have moved into their territory and compete for their resources.  Our urban environment is filled with tiny islands of "wilderness."  Chicago's Cook County alone has 69,000 acres of Forest Preserves scattered around housing additions and strip malls.  Coyotes have a smorgasbord of rabbits, raccoons, and possums in addition to feral cats and the occasional small dog.  In Missouri, the bear population increasingly shows up around towns near our forests.  In Los Angeles there is a resident mountain lion (http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/ballad-p22-mountain-lion-los-angeles) now named P-22.

Even in Mumbai, a leopard in a park doesn't cause the fear that traffic accidents and crime present.  As our big wildlife such as bears and even occasional mountain lions come in contact with society, we watch with a mixture of fascination and a little fear.  There is reason to fear wildlife.  In 2011 alone, wildlife caused 7 deaths in Missouri and 191 deaths nationwide.  This was from animal-vehicle crashes, predominantly the deadly deer.

After reading the article above and the preceding blog on mountain lions in Missouri, I think you will want to take additional safety precautions..... be sure your seat belt is fastened at all times and never text while driving.  The predators will take care of themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Out here they kill coyotes, black bears, and cougars when they come into our territory whether they mean harm or not.

    I really wish they would stop this and just move them to higher grounds.

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