February 22, 2006
First, it seems that nearly 10% of the responses were for the obviously stupid idea to restrict development to accommodate the nasty big cats. These folks were probably drawn to the Plains Feeder by our frequent castigation of the PETA mentality. It is no surprise that these fruits would like to take food from the tables of honest, enterprising Omaha developers to appease an animal most Nebraskans consider a pest. These same folks probably figure we should be nicer to Mohammedan fanatics as well.
About 15% of responders tossed their votes away on the choice designed to catch all the voters who don't take the Omaha mountain lion situation seriously. Adopt-A-Lion program indeed! Nobody that saw one of these big predators in their own yard, where their kids play, would consider putting out feeding stations for them. Might as well send out invitations.
I'm guessing most of the voters who believe we should exterminate all the cougars, pumas, catamounts and mountain lions from the entire state are familiar with the problems faced by those of us as keep livestock. No self-respecting rancher or feeder likes the idea of predators killing or maiming their animals. So about 16% of voters would condemn our big cats. I'll bet some of these voters can remember when the state paid bounties on all sorts of pests.
The old feeder's personal favorite choice would have us try to keep the big cats out of town. This is how the folks in Florida deal with alligators and Canucks deal with bears. Extirpation makes sense, and isn't as extreme as extermination; even the animal lovers can live with this option. Town life and large , carnivorous wildlife don't mix. Sure, these lions are beautiful, noble creatures, but they are still lions; if you want to see them, go to the zoo.
Reasonable as it is, extirpation came in second to toleration. The official policy, if there is such a thing in Omaha, seems to be to tolerate the animals as long as they don't cause a fuss. When a citizen sees one, the officials respond by looking for it. The only one the cops caught was wounded in the process and ended up in the Henry Doorly Zoo. I'm surprised the cat hasn't sued the city.
Thanks to all those who took the time to vote.
Posted by ptg at 12:51 PM