www.trackincats.com Forum Index www.trackincats.com
Discussions about predatory cats.
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

With apologies to the Almighty by, Gordon Dillow

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.trackincats.com Forum Index -> Stories
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Cougardaville
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 2365
Location: New York

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:08 pm    Post subject: With apologies to the Almighty by, Gordon Dillow Reply with quote

With apologies to the Almighty
GORDON DILLOW
Register columnist
GLDillow@aol.com
Mountain lions are one of God's most beautiful and graceful creations. But sometimes, with apologies to the Almighty, it becomes necessary to kill one of them.

And when that happens, especially in an urban area like Orange County, the phones at the California Department of Fish and Game light up with anger.

That's exactly what took place last week, when Fish and Game wardens shot a 70-pound young male mountain lion in Coto de Caza. One of two mountain lions that had been seen in the area – one was crouched near a yard where children were playing – the big cat was killed by a game warden with a shotgun slug after it approached the officers with no sign of fear.

That's highly unusual and potentially dangerous behavior by a mountain lion; ordinarily they're so reclusive and human-shy that you never even get a glimpse of one. When one of them boldly looks at you like you're lunch, there's something wrong with that cat – and sadly, it may have to be destroyed before it hurts or kills somebody.

True, mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare in California, although they've been increasing in recent years as both human and mountain lion populations in the state have swelled – especially after sport hunting of mountain lions was banned decades ago. Since 1986 there have been three fatal attacks in the state and ten non-fatal ones, including the 2004 killing of a mountain biker in Orange County and the severe injury of another.

But the relatively low number of attacks is at least partly due to the fact that potentially dangerous mountain lions like the one in Coto de Caza are eliminated as "public safety threats" before they hurt someone, not afterwards. And you have to ask yourself, would you want a mountain lion scoping out your kids – or even your poodle – while they're playing in your yard?

Still, a lot of people just don't get it. And according to Fish and Game spokesman Harry Morse, after the Coto de Caza shooting dozens of them called the agency to express their outrage.

One female caller said she wanted to file a complaint against the game wardens for not tranquilizing and relocating the mountain lion. A male caller boasted that he "(has) the governor on speed-dial" and demanded that game wardens stop shooting mountain lions – or else. Another female caller denounced the game wardens as "trigger-happy."

And so on. According to Morse, about the only positive call was from a Coto de Caza woman whose kids had been playing under the dead mountain lion's perhaps hungry gaze.

"She was extremely appreciative," Morse said.

Obviously, most of the angry callers simply don't understand the facts. For example, tranquilizing and relocating a potentially dangerous mountain lion isn't an option. An aggressive-to-humans cat will remain an aggressive cat no matter where you put it, especially if its abnormal behavior is prompted by a disease such as feline leukemia or rabies.

And to call the Fish and Game wardens "trigger-happy" is simply foolish.

"Their (the game wardens) job is to protect wildlife," Morse told me. "When it comes to killing it's extremely stressful for them…. We're the opposite of trigger-happy."

The numbers bear that out. Although the Dept. of Fish and Game annually handles hundreds of mountain lion calls statewide, in the past two calendar years only half a dozen mountain lions were deemed sufficiently threatening to be shot – this out of an estimated statewide mountain lion population of between 4,000 and 6,000 animals.

In fact, "public safety threat" killings of mountain lions are minimal compared with the number of mountain lions killed by property owners, most often in rural counties, who under the law are entitled to receive "depredation permits" to kill mountain lions that are attacking livestock or pets. In the past two years almost 200 mountain lions in California have been killed under such permits.

Now, whenever I write about the need for humans to control wildlife – with deadly force if necessary – I get angry calls and letters. And I'm sure this will be no exception.

Some people will tell me that the mountain lions were here first, and humans have no right to control them – which is sort of like saying that because coyotes and rattlesnakes once occupied the ground where your house now stands, you have to let them come into your home and take a snooze on your bed.

And other people who profess to love wild animals – but who really don't seem to know much about wild animals – will say that mountain lions are cute, and not dangerous at all unless provoked by mean ol' humans.

But they're wrong. Mountain lions are beautiful and magnificent, but they aren't cute, and they certainly can be dangerous without any special prompting from us.

So when one of them goes awry, it's our hard, sad duty – to ourselves and to other mountain lions – to remove them.

With apologies to the Almighty.
http://www.ocregister.com/column/mountain-lions-game-1793161-lion-one



Contact the writer: 714-796-7953 or GLDillow@aol.com
_________________
Tweleve years of dedication Studying "Cougars" taking sighting reports, Tracking & Filming the wild!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Cougardaville
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 2365
Location: New York

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Idea This is one of the better written articles I have read in a long, long time Exclamation Exclamation

Cougardaville Wink

_________________
Tweleve years of dedication Studying "Cougars" taking sighting reports, Tracking & Filming the wild!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.trackincats.com Forum Index -> Stories All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Charcoal Theme by Zarron Media, converted for phpBB 2.0.5 by phpBB2.de