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Why Bambi Must Go

In this article, Dr. Dan Cristol, a professor and ornithologist at William and Mary  College in Virginia, recommends fencing off large tracts of forest to assure the continued survival of birds that nest in dense understory near the ground—birds such as the worm-eating warbler—because hordes of hungry deer are devouring it all.   Is such a drastic measure necessary, while the various state wildlife management agencies continue to produce deer for a shrinking minority of hunters?  Large fenced-in tracts of this kind have already been installed in Pennsylvania’s state forests to protect seedlings in recently logged areas.


Cristol says, “The typical solutions, like bringing back mountain lions and wolves to control deer, are no longer an option in most places, in part because of the forests’ proximity to humans.” We beg to differ, especially with regard for cougars. Cougars control damage by deer by altering their behavior, moving them from overused areas.  They are good neighbors, rarely seen even where they are well established.  You may see tracks on dusty trails and roads, and occasionally come upon a deer kill.  For most people in cougar country, seeing one is a treasured once-in-a-lifetime experience.


It’s “common knowledge” among too many Americans, fed by media hype and distorted novels and movies, that cougars are extremely dangerous.  In fact, since 1890, only 22 people have been killed by cougars in all the US and Canada—only three since 1998.Being killed by a cougar is as rare statistically as being struck by a meteor.  Deer collisions are by far the single greatest wildlife threat to the public. 


Some urbanized areas are demonstrating that people and cougars can co-exist–in the San Francisco Bay Area, southern California, and in the Denver-Boulder area.  Mainly what is needed for co-existence is will by the residents.  See http://cougarrewilding.org/CougarNews/?p=5536 and other items filed under the subject heading “Co-existence” in our Cougar News blog.  Click on the heading in the left column.



The New York Times – The Opinion Pages

Why Bambi Must Go


Op-Ed Contributor

Williamsburg, Va.


THIS month is the peak of spring bird migration, when New Yorkers flock to Central Park, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of refueling warblers.

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