The mountain lion sightings in the Omaha area continue. KMTV News reported tonight that several folks in the Offutt Air Force Base neighborhood had seen mountain lions. I'd give you a link, but it isn't up on KM3's weak web site yet. [Updated with link to Air Pulse 12/06/05]
Just to let you know how far a story like this can carry, the Nebraska mountain lion sightings have made it into the ChiCom Xinhua News web site. This miserable piece of propaganda uses the Boyd County "ghost town" of Monowi to make it seem as if the American peasantry is on its last legs. We actually have to eat buffalo meat while vicious predators, once eradicated, again roam our deserted streets. At least that is what the ChiComs want everyone to think.
All over the Great Plains small towns are dying. The roll of decline is written on road signs on the road to Monowi. Obert: population 39, Maskell: population 54.When you stop laughing, please vote in the latest Plains Feeder Poll over in the sidebar. (If you can see it. I couldn't seem to get it to work with MS Internet Explorer.) Because this has become an international matter, so anyone can vote. . How do you think we should respond to the Mountain Lion Problem?
Many have tried all sorts of schemes to stay alive. Some have worked, turning them into artist colonies. The novelist Larry McMurtry turned Lucas, Texas, into a mecca for book lovers.
Others have not. Empty business parks, built with federal grants, dot the landscape. It was a reversal of the old ode: "Build it and they shall come." Many towns have built, but the businesses have still stayed away.
The landscape around Monowi and all over the Great Plains is gradually reverting to grassland and prairie. Many farms are switching to hunting. Some have replaced cattle with buffalo, increasingly common on American dinner plates.
Twenty years ago there was a huge controversy when two academics proposed the plains be turned into a wildlife preserve called "Buffalo Commons." But the plains are taking matters into their own hands. Prairie wildlife is already returning as humans leave. When Eiler was growing up, deer were unheard of around Monowi. Now they are so common they are a pest.
Wild elk too have returned. And predators not seen for a century on the plains of Nebraska are back. A handful of mountain lions roam the state, and are even spotted on the outskirts of Omaha, the biggest city.