Opinion & Editorial

Living with wildlife a good first step

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Encountering animals in the wild and urban areas often fills me with wonder and awe, but for some it can bring fear.
Perhaps this was so for the people who recently saw a cougar in Springfield’s Thurston Park.
Fear can alert us to a possible threat, but reacting out of fear instead of responding based on understanding can lead to unnecessary outcomes.
If the couple who saw the cougar had only known about another nearby cougar sighting in Springfield the night before, that cougars are active at night, and seek cover like brush and trees, then maybe that walk in the park just wouldn’t have happened.
And knowing that cougars will usually leave whenever encountered, if given a chance and making sure they have a way to escape, that would seem to be the best overall response in any such situation.
Living with wildlife not only means learning about them and how to respond when encountered, but also how to prevent encounters.
In a world where wildlife is disappearing as habitat is lost and disconnected, if we value animals in our daily lives, learning how to live so both people are safe and wildlife protected is a good first step.

Albert LePage



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