|courtesy Google images|
The Department of Fish and Game killed a mother and three baby mountain lions, who they asserted were "terrorizing" Rescue, a neighborhood in Northern California. Despite the fact that this lion family was suspected of killing a residents' goat, and perhaps other livestock, the people of Rescue were upset that Fish and Game, again, resorted to killing the cat and her cubs.
As we search for space, fresh air and "nature", we forget that we encroach upon the natural habitats of animals with whom we share this planet. These animals are also part of the "nature" that we seek as a respite from crowded and smoggy cities. These animals need food and water regardless of whether houses stand where once they did not. In other words, just because we change our address does not mean the wildlife we displace consents to politely starve to death and to stop behaving naturally.
It also means that those charged with the responsibility of enforcing the protection of our native and protected species, (a class in which mountain lions reside), must behave better than the rest of us and work to negate our egocentric ignorant assumptions and behaviors. Teaching people to cope, exploring relocation options, and creating wildlife corridors to expand areas of natural habitat could ultimately help save the lives of both the lions and the goat. It is also up to residents of areas where it is foreseeable to encounter a mountain lion to take steps to keep pets and farm animals in secure, indoor enclosures at night.
The Department of Fish and Game has always rejected that they were in the preservation business when criticized for too hastily hunting and killing one of our "game" animals. They insist that hunting and "taking" of "game" is necessary to manage herd populations. They have also had a terrible season during which their Commission president posted pictures of a lion that he killed out of state, a baby lion was gunned down at their direction in Santa Monica as well as other such difficult incidents. Yet, this past legislative session they removed the word "game" from Fish and Game and replaced it with "wildlife" so as to diminish and eliminate the hunting connotations emitted by the word "game" - clearly a distinction in "game" only.
They are not fooling anybody nor will Californians mistake such flimsy appearances for reality. Instead of asking the words to do the work of softening their image so as to appear less like government hunters why don't they just act that way?
Trust me - this word play is no game to lions or goats.