Pumas versus humans - Reintroducing dangerous animals where they no longer exist
TRACKSIDE © by John D’Aloia Jr.
July 20, 2004
OK, you say, pumas and their eco-fascists chauffeurs may be a problem elsewhere, but certainly not in Kansas. Official Kansas Wildlife and Parks pronouncements have been that there are no cats in residence in Kansas and that there are not surreptitious efforts underway to establish them in the state, though admitting that one could wander into the state. Similar statements are found on the Missouri Department of Conservation website.
A Wichita Eagle news article last month told of a mountain lion found dead in Oklahoma, just 40 miles south of Arkansas City, apparently struck by a train. Where did it come from? It wore a tracking collar and was last located in the Black Hills of Wyoming in September, 2003. Do your Point A to Point B geography. The cat traveled about 660 miles, a long trek - unless it had a midnight pickup truck ride courtesy of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife, a theory held by many who look askance at government efforts to reintroduce animals where they no longer exist.
The Wichita Eagle article also reported that there have been confirmed sightings of young male cats looking for a home territory in Nebraska and Missouri. An August 2003 Lawrence Journal-World article about a mountain lion killed by a car on Route 54 near Fulton, Missouri, noted that it was the second road kill in Missouri in 10 months and quoted a Department of Conservation biologist: "We can say we have mountain lions roaming in Missouri without a doubt."
In response to the Wichita Eagle article, a Meade, Kansas, rancher offered to help Kansas Wildlife & Parks employees demonstrate that the cats are in Meade County, suggesting that they bring along night scope rifles so they could take the proof home with them. The rancher said that "all the ranchers around here, especially those with children who used to play outdoors until dusk, would welcome their taking the proof out of the county."
A very large hullabaloo over pumas is taking place in Florida, a debate between those who are feeling the impact of the cats’ depredations and those who give critters priority over humans when there is a conflict between the two. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service imported Texas mountain lions in 1995 in an attempt to improve the gene pool of the Florida panther. Reports are that the experiment was successful, so much so that the cats are being seen in residential areas and killing pets and livestock. So far, no human attacks have been reported, but close encounters are being reported. In the previous TRACKSIDE on pumas, I stated that there were some 30 subspecies. I have since come across an article in which the author claims that the endangered species tag placed on Florida panthers is so much eco-fascist mumbo-jumbo junk science, a use of the Endangered Species Act to further their socialist goals. Jan Michael Jacobson, in an article entitled "The ‘gift’ that eats people" in the February 2004 issue of The eco-logic Powerhouse, cited a puma gene article in the May/June 2000 issue of Journal of Heredity. He wrote that the journal article stated "... the entire North American population (186 individuals from 15 previously named subspecies) was genetically homogeneous." In other words, no sub-species, just one, and one that is not endangered given its wide range and numbers. (In Texas, pumas have varmint status.) Why is the fact not recognized by The Clerks and our elected officials? Jacobson names two reasons - power and money. He follows the money thus: those in environmental organizations who exist on government grants and contributions from citizens who love things wild, government and non-government researchers using the cats as a meal ticket, and those who are paid to spread the panther gospel. The power involved is another story.
Are elected officials concerned about the plight of Floridians? One example that they are not - on June 22, UPI reported that Senator Lieberman (D-CT) wrote a "second blistering letter" to U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials for not doing enough to restore the endangered Florida panther and protect its habitat. Human need to use and develop land? Dangers to people and property? As far as Senator Lieberman is concerned, forget it - panthers and their habitat takes precedence.
Let the lion roar and rule.
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