Iowa State Rep against protections for cougars
At least one Iowa State Representative does not want to see cougars recolonize Iowa.
Representative Clel Baudler, speaking to Raccoon Valley Radio, said: “A mountain lion eats people. I’m not going to protect something that looks to me, my kids, and grandkids as number two on the food chain.”
While we cannot agree with Representative Baudler’s statements, we certainly understand how common and sincere such fears are. Helping to relieve the anxiety that comes from unfamiliarity with large carnivores is what motivates us. The Cougar Fund is committed to finding and sharing ways that protect our families, pets, livestock AND wildlife. Sometimes, to do this, we must address what is myth and choose instead to focus on the facts.
While it is true that cougars can be a threat to humans and human interests, it is important to keep this threat in perspective. There have been 23 fatal attacks on humans by mountain lions in North America since 1890. By comparison, nearly 36,000 Americans died in car accidents in 2009 alone, according to the United States Census Bureau. You are 30 times more likely to be attacked by a domestic dog than a cougar. Additionally, lightning and bee stings inflict far more fatalities than cougars – yet we haven’t tried to eradicate either of these entities.
So, while the potential risk that mountain lions pose isn’t something to be taken lightly, it needs to be kept in perspective. The reality is that most perceptions of these animals are based on myth and misinformation. When you get down to the facts, cougars are animals we can live quite safely with. Residents of the western United States (and Florida!) manage to live side-by-side with cougars everyday, with attacks being extremely rare. Certainly, Iowa can find a way to coexist with this magnificent animal.
Click here to learn more about staying safe when living and recreating in mountain lion country.