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This Land is Your Land (Unless You Want to Eat Me)

March 23, 2012

via Mariposacounty.org

Readers – I was going to write a post about seed starting, but the big news in our neck of the woods has been a string of recent encounters with a mountain lioness and her cub. We’ve heard about chickens getting killed further down the road, but last weekend our neighbors shot and killed a mountain lion cub eating some of their fowl. The mother returned two days ago and got another goose. Our other neighbor (right across the creek) saw the lioness inspecting our barn the same day and says she is incredibly large. Apparently, Fish Wildlife and Parks might be willing to set a trap to relocate the animal, but we are supposed to shoot her if we see her around.

I am incredibly torn over this issue. On the one hand, mountain lions are fairly common, and they are also incredibly dangerous, especially to animals and children. I’ve been pretty paranoid about walking around our property, even making Tempe come out to my car when I started it yesterday morning. I also know that animals are not people (duh) – the mountain lion does what it has evolved to do, and that is killing animals, small people, and even big people if the situation arises. I don’t want our neighbor’s daughter, us, or our pets to get killed. I don’t want to wonder if I need a gun to walk over to our barn.

On the other hand, I was raised to believe that trophy and “convenience” hunting is wrong (I put that in quotes because there are a lot of people who feel like killing predators on your property is a necessity, not a convenience). We moved to an area surrounded by forest, and that has changed a lot about our life and our relationship with wildlife. Sure, in town you see deer, and there are neighborhoods where you have to bear-proof your garbage. I take bear spray when I go hiking, but that is a temporary situation. At our house though, we moved into wildlife habitat. I ran into a bear while jogging up the road from our house. Flies plague my existence. We have wildturkeys on our property. I want to make our property more inviting to wildlife by restoring some of the riparian areas and along the road, but there is a big difference between song birds and predators. It doesn’t help that I’ve always felt a deep sympathy for predators who so often loose when they compete with humans for food.

I hope the mountain lion has moved on, but it is probably only a matter of time before we have another encounter with a cat, or a bear, especially as we increase the number of animals, fruit trees, and feed that we have on the property. All we can do is try to reduce how attractive our property is to predators by being smart about how we store food and animals, and then accept that you can only be so smart about deterrence before you have to protect yourself.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. sue permalink
    March 23, 2012 8:40 am

    wow. this was a bit of a heartbreaker to read and what a dilemna. songbirds, deer and wild turkeys are one thing. they don’t eat people. but lions and tigers and bears, oh my! just be safe and i hope fish wildlife and parks can safely move her on her way.

  2. Alex permalink
    March 27, 2012 5:16 pm

    The same issue is also a problem in St Helens.

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