Humans struggle to live peacefully with beasties
Large carnivores have made impressive comebacks in some parts of the U.S. Now the question is how humans can live with them in harmony. In Oregon, after cougars were hunted to near-extinction, voters banned the practice of hunting with radio-collared dogs. The state’s big-cat population has since jumped from about 3,000 to 5,000 — but complaints about peckish panthers munching pets and livestock are on the rise too. Farmers and ranchers are still anxious about the return of wolves to the northern Rockies. And in other states around the country, wildlife bridges and tunnels are being built to try to prevent major meat-eaters from becoming roadkill. Despite the challenges, scientists and greens point out that the return of large carnivores can help improve biodiversity. Since wolves have come back to Yellowstone, beavers and songbirds have also flourished, as elk no longer over-graze the willows and aspens. And seriously, they’ve only eaten like 23 tourists.