A cougar was recently removed from a Seattle park just a few miles from where I live.
I poked around looking for cougar sign by some ponds in the park but found only raccoon tracks. The last time a cougar was in this park he left behind a cache of raccoon heads. I chased some growling raccoons away from our chicken coop earlier this summer. Had to buy a new frying pan because I broke the handle off the one I hit the raccoon with.
The cougar was of course, tranquilized, ear tagged, and radio collared. He will be sending text messages to wildlife agents, becoming a source of endless entertainment as they get to track and dart him over and over again in the name of research. Objects of our affections often become victims of them.
I raised this point a few years back on Grist Magazine and got called on the carpet with a nasty email from Luke Hunter, who was then (taking a deep breath) Global Carnivore Program Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society and an Associate Conservation Scientist in the Science and Exploration Program.
Oddly enough, a few days after this cougar was captured, another one was killed by a car just 15 miles from my house. The photo of the dead cougar was removed from the post after a commenter complained that she did not like pictures of dead cougars.
Nature lovers, of which I am one, should resist the urge to go live with nature. It’s better to just visit. People and nature don’t mix. Your dogs and cats will create a smelly circle of death around your residence. You will be forced to trap rodents, poison hornets, wasps, termites, and wood ants, fence out deer, porcupines or whatever and will occasionally run over something. An enhancement to the ecosystem you will not be.
This is the second time a cougar has found his way into a park in the middle of Seattle. They follow a rail line which acts as a very long thin green belt connecting this park to the forests in the surrounding mountains. Both had to cross a rail road trestle to complete their journey.
This is proof of the effectiveness of interconnected green belts. Wildlife trapped in small isolated pockets of habitat will eventually die out. Interconnection can make small areas act like larger ones.