Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cougar killed in Corvallis Residential Neighborhood

Another cougar has been killed in Corvallis. Click post title to go to story. This one in a Timberhill neighborhood. The big cat was living under someones deck and dining on house cats, deer and attacking dogs.

The population of cougars in Oregon this summer alone has skyrocketed. At least the population living close to humans, or, right among humans. Many people are unaware of how close they are, because they hunt in the twilight or at night.

The department of Wildlife warns there have been other sightings in that area. And still, pet owners allow their cats to roam free.

This isn't the only big predator threatening house cats and living right in city limits. Coyotes also roam Corvallis streets in the night, as I witnessed myself on Walnut near Circle.

There is a squeamishness about killing a cougar. However cougars only live when they kill other animals, including house cats and dogs. Protect your cats, please. Keep them indoors.

I worry about Tabitha, Slurpy's sister, who was adopted by a family who lives in the Timberhill neighborhood. I warned them about cougar sightings in the area and they pledged to keep her inside.

But did they honor that promise? Did they protect an innocent kitten, who knew no enemies, from the horrors out there, the jaws and claws ready to tear her apart and eat her alive?


I have been considering the questions raised by Snow, in the comments. He asks if we are the only species that is important and if the cougar could not be relocated. Yet I would ask, whose life is more valuable, the cougars', the deer, the house cat?

Some do not want to kill the cougar, but this cougar killed both a deer and at least one house cat. Is one life more valuable than another? Is there no sympathy for the house cat who died so horribly, or for the deer? How do we place value on lives? Are carnivores more valuable than herbivores? The question is a curiosity to me.

I love cats. My sympathies lie with cats. I concede cats, when allowed to roam, kill other lives. I advocate for house cats to be kept inside, to minimize environmental damage and predation, and also to keep them safe from becoming prey to other predators.

If we consider the dangers of living near cougar habitat, we should consider the house pet, the dog, who kills and injures more people in a week's time, in our country, I venture to guess, than there are documented cougar encounters over the span of recorded history. Be scared of dogs, not cougars, if you want to fear an animal.

I am scared of dogs. I've been bitten a dozen times in the last few years, when going out to help cats. Three of those bites came from Pomeranians, nice to my face, turn my back and they attached themselves by teeth to my calf. I have Pomeranian bite scars. I have been bitten by small and large dogs, often enough now I have pepper spray ready and have a tension around dogs I don't know which they sense. I used to own a dog, but after being bitten so many times, I don't trust them anymore. Dogs know this.

Dogs also kill more cats than any other predator.

I love cats. I don't like killing anything. But if something--anybody or anything is after or threatens something I love, my mother instinct kicks in and I would kill the threat or die trying. This includes cougars, dogs, coyotes and the most dangerous predator of all, humans.

I can't say if there is a greater force in the universe that gives different values to different life forms. In a Darwinian jungle, the strong and the clever survive. They eat the weak, the young, the stupid, the slow, the trusting, the naive, the disabled, the old. These traits are the only judges of value if you dare to call it judging of value.

It is what is.

We are not the only species that is important. But I as an individual organism will do anything I can to stay alive. Humans, as a species, acting together, will act likewise. It's the struggle that strengthens each species, the battle royal to stay alive. "I'll die, to let you live" is not normal behavior for any species or individual.

I don't like to take life. Any life. It takes a god complex, an ego, a value judgement to hold a living beating life, any life, a life that wants to keep living, and to end that life, that glow to the eye, that hope, that lust, that joy, that beating heart. I rarely eat meat for this reason. I grew up a vegetarian, too. But I would kill and eat meat to live. I wouldn't like doing it, but I would. If I were to eat meat regularly, I would rather kill what I ate myself, to know I'd done so mercifully, than rely that somoeone else might show mercy in taking that life.

In the end, our species will die off.

An outsider to our universe and planet, looking in one day, in the future, to study our species history, will make notes on the most bloodthirsty and violent species ever known to have roamed planet Earth. The stranger from the future will note how we razed the planet's resources, building huge colonies, surrounded in our own filth and trash, thrived and reproduced until the population consumed everything usable as food. The stranger will note the evidence of numerous and frequent violent conflicts between different colonies and tribes, dusease outbreaks, colony starvations, the advances our species made and will speculate on the causes of our extinction.

It is what will be, as I see it, and there is no turning from our path. We cannot choose anything, not really, not enough to make any difference, to turn far enough off the path, in our marching instinctual animal species inevitable fate.

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