Sunday, May 27, 2007

Urban sprawl causes imbalance of nature

5/26/2007 10:52:00 PM

Nature is harsh. Animals kill other animals every day to survive.

We know that in an academic sense, but Dale and Nancy Bryant of Prescott got a ringside seat a week ago when a mountain lion killed a deer in their back yard.

The 26-year residents of the Ho-Kay-Gan subdivision have seen plenty of wildlife over the years but never a show like that.

As Prescott and Prescott Valley have expanded into once pristine riparian areas, the original residents haven't left. They still need a place to live and they still need to eat.

In recent years, residents on the fringes of local communities increasingly are encountering mountain lions and bears along with the deer, javelinas and coyotes.

A year ago, Game and Fish officials had to kill a lion in the Granite Mountain area that had acted aggressively toward humans in the area. In 2004, a bear that had been rifling trash killed a dog in the Walker area. Officials tried unsuccessfully to trap it.

Arizona Game and Fish officials conducted a seminar for Ho-Kay-Gan residents in March after a number of lion sightings heightened fears there.

This past week, they conducted a similar meeting in Prescott Valley where residents have reported seeing a lion within a quarter-mile of the intersection of the Iron King and Peavine trails between Prescott and Prescott Valley.

So far the lions that people recently have sighted have stuck to their traditional bill of fare, and Game and Fish officials are reluctant to intervene until the animals behave aggressively toward people.

In the meantime, people who live in those formerly primitive areas need to be careful about themselves, their pets and leaving any edibles outside. Living where you can enjoy nature has a price.

http://prescottdailycourier.com/main.asp? SectionID=36&SubSectionID=73&ArticleID=44324

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