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Should Cities Encourage or Discourage Wild Animals?
WEEKLY NEWS TOPIC
Food Chain Radio Show #798 • November 17, 2012 • Sat 9AM Pacific
Michael Olson Features
James Sterba Author of Nature Wars
Which wildlife would you most like to evict from your city?
“Look at the buck deer!”
While walking the dog through an upscale neighborhood of Billings, Montana recently, my attention was called to a rather scruffy looking house that had obviously been abandoned some months previously. Standing next to an open gate was the buck deer, happily eating the landscaping as if in full legal ownership of the house and its grounds.
Having grown up in Billings on a diet rich in wild venison, the citified buck stopped me in my tracks. We stared at each other for several long moments. I then moved closer, expecting him to bound away. But the buck was without fear, and did not flee. I left him in possession of the house and all its delicious landscaping.
Wild animals have discovered what people long ago discovered– the safety and security of living in cities. As author James Sterba says, “It is very likely that in the eastern United States today more people live in closer proximity to more wildlife than anywhere on Earth at any time in history.”
In fact, wildlife running wild through our communities cause an estimated $28 billion in damage every year in the United States, with $1.5 billion from deer-auto crashes alone! This leads us ask…
Why has so much wildlife moved into cities?
Why are cities so welcoming of wildlife?
Should cities encourage or discourage wild animals?