Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back To Nature

I cannot believe the cops shot the mountain lion that was roaming around Chicago. According to DNA, it was a wild cat, not someone's pet that escaped. The Lincoln Park Zoo is located only two miles away from where it was killed. They have trained professionals there who know how to subdue wild animals. But no, the cops couldn't wait for them or animal control, for that matter. They claim that the mountain lion, cougar, puma -- same animal, different name -- leaped at them, leaving them no choice but to shoot.

Except at one point, a photographer got the animal on video running in a completely different direction away from the cops. It was also leaping six foot fences without much difficulty. So you get the feeling it was trying to get out of Dodge. Most mountain lions attack using stealth. If you catch them in the act they'll often run the other way. That's what Marlin Perkins told me the last time we were in Omaha shooting Wild Kingdom.

Meanwhile, everyone wants to know how a mountain lion got into the city. Easy. It walked. There's a line of forest preserves stretching from the Wisconsin border through the northern suburbs into the northwestern neighborhoods of Chicago.  It's pretty much a straight shot through the woods, except for having to cross some streets along the way.

I have personal knowledge of some of it, because there's a bike trail that I used to ride that goes through miles and miles of forested land. Many times I almost wiped out because I'd come around the corner and there'd be some damn white tail deer right in front of me picking its butt. Or Bambi and its mother would jump out of the bushes smack dab in front of me, like a some kind of wildlife GOTCHA.

Now there's been a second mountain lion sighting in the lagoons, which are in the northern end of the forest preserves, about six short blocks from my stepmother's house. Two runners and a cop claim to be witnesses to this new sighting, which happened after the other cat was terminated. They're taking the reports seriously, mainly because a police officer confirmed it. For some reason you need a cop to see these things or they don't count. Like someone in suburban law enforcement would know a mountain lion from a tarp.

I remember when the now dead mountain lion was first sighted. Some soccer mom claimed she saw it in her back yard. Needless to say, nobody believed her. She kept saying she knew it wasn't a deer because it had a long tail.  Zero credibility.

Lots of good eating around these parts I must say. Tasty joggers on the bike path along the edge of the lagoons. There's a boat ramp where delicious people launch their kayaks and canoes. Did I mention all the fat fishermen who're out there trying to catch the two inch bass? I've seen a few woodchucks, a lot of herons, even an occasional coyote traveling the roads, and it's hard to miss the distinctive smell of fresh skunk, or a rotting raccoon dead on the road. Oh, the menu includes kids and pets, too.

Even so, they better not kill this one.


screaminremo303 said...

Vicarious liability, Mrs. L. It's the same legalese mumbo-jumbo that gets people a gazillion bucks for having a cup of coffee spilled in their lap.

It's bullshit but it's easier than saying they just wanted a trophy for their FOP Lodge.

swibirun said...

I didn't see that news story.

Alexis swore she saw one about a mile away from our house one night about a year ago.  She described a mountain lion perfectly, not a bob cat, even though she didn't know what it was.  Brett and I showed her online that moutain lions are no longer found in our part of the country anymore.  

Last week, the local news reported apparently there HAVE been sightings in our area after all!

Sounds like no one ever believes the witnesses.

ber144 said...

Hmm, I think I'm going to have to repsectfully disagree with you on this.  I have a friend who lives on the block where the shooting occured, and he said it was a huge cat, plus the block has a ton of kids.  Can you imagine the outrage had they not acted and something happened?  Sure it was highly unlikely, but I can see them not wanting to take a chance.

And Remo nailed it.  I'm surprised someone hasn't tried to sue for trauma just because the animal dared to come into their neighborhood.

I see coyotes outside my backyard all the time.  When they started tearing up the Tri-State last year they demolished a small wooden area off a ramp that must have had an entire pack living inside.  Didn't feel much of a threat, though.

jevanslink said...

They could have shot it with a tranquilizer dart.  Heck they could have tasered the thing.

Mrs. L

suzypwr said...

I agree, Mrs L. I love the wildlife and we have taken their land - we can't expect them to disappear.