This past week, a cougar was shot just a few miles from our house: Chicago News Article. It was around 100 pounds and 5-6 feet long.
I have mixed reactions about this. I am feeling ANGER because the innocent animal was doing nothing wrong. It was not even given a chance to move on with its travels.
We are spoiled in that we live in a very safe area as far as wildlife goes. There are plenty of places in this country where there are dangerous animals, areas where hikers and runners and cyclists and campers must be aware and on-guard. Animals are not killed in those areas just because they’re dangerous. Here, there are no poisonous spiders or scorpions. No poisonous snakes. Wolves are not completely unheard of in this area, but they are very, very rare, and when one is spotted it makes the news. No bears. Coyote are all over the place, but they are not that big and are very reclusive. Honestly, dogs are my biggest mammalian concern while running, and justifiably so.
That is why, I think, everyone is freaking out about the cougar. They think we are entitled to be safe when we go outside, even in the woods. I disagree with that mentality. We share this earth with every other living creature. I’m good with self defense, but if an animal is not attacking us, we need to leave it alone.
I am also feeling FEAR because I do run trails alone at our state park. I told Chris I didn’t need to worry about experiencing a cougar attack because if I saw one, I’d simply drop dead right then and there. I too have become spoiled with not worrying about wildlife while running. This doesn’t mean my feelings are right. If I choose to be in the woods, I am choosing to share the woods with animals that call it home. If I choose to live on a farm, I am choosing to live among animals that live wild in the area. I am not any more entitled to land than other mammals just because I’m human.
Do you have dangerous animals in your area? Are they commonly shot by the DNR?