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Living with wildlife

In some areas of the country, the report of a cougar near homes (“Cougars prowl near Upper Chetco School, Pilot, May 15) would incite a public cry to mobilize the U.S. Marines to track down and kill the offending animals.

Not so in Curry County, where, it appears, most residents don’t panic about the presence of cougars, nor the occasional hungry bear or feisty raccoon.

The cities and towns of America’s Wild Rivers Coast are islands of humanity surrounding by some of the most pristine wilderness. Part of living in paradise is living with wild animals.

As far as we know, there have not been any recent reports of someone in Curry County being attacked or even having a close call with a wild animal. There were, however, several cougar attacks on livestock and a pet dog in Curry County in 2001. Those cats were subsequently hunted down and killed.

Overall, it seems that our communities have a good record of avoiding or dealing appropriately with the potential conflicts that can arise when human development encroaches on the natural world.

When wild animals encroach on human territory, some demand the threat be eliminated immediately. But, fortunately, that call is answered by others promoting methods that can and should be used instead of killing.

Yes, a cougar should be killed when it has proven to be a threat to livestock, pets and humans.

No, they shouldn’t be hunted or killed wholesale.

Looking at the area’s history of wildlife/human interaction, we believe there is no need to lock up our children and stay off the hiking trails – and out of our own backyards.

Reason, not raw emotions, should prevail when living in the natural world that surrounds us.

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