WCAV describes today how the Crozet mountain lion is terrorizing a neighborhood.
This story has been covered several times in the Crozet Gazette; spend some time looking there for more information. Specifically, start downloading the pdfs from August 2007 on for the aftermath of this letter:
I am shocked and concerned that the people of Crozet appear not to be alarmed by recurring reports of a mountain lion in their town and vicinity.
I live in the Maryland-Washington DC com- muting area and may relocate my family to the Crozet area, so I have visited Crozet many times and read the Crozet Gazette online. The Gazette has reported the â€œCrozet Cougarâ€ at least twice now, the latest in the July 2007 issue. For under- standing, readers should note that this predator is known by several names: cougar, panther, puma, mountain lion, and lion.
Apparently the people of Crozet are not aware of the lionâ€™s mortal threat to the community. If they were, there would be a call to eliminate this predator before tragedy strikes. But no concern has been voiced, at least not in the Gazette. And certainly no decisive action has been taken to protect the public, because the lion is still at large after multiple sightings over the last year.
I am writing this letter to awaken the Crozet community to the danger of mountain lions to people, especially children, with the hope that citizens will act to avoid a tragedy which will darken the life of the community for many years.
Note: the photo is not from this area.
Update 02/28/2008: The Daily Progress does a thorough vetting of the Crozet Cougar story.
4 Replies to “Crozet Cougar?”
The letter is unnecessarily histrionic. This sort of “invasion from the wild” happens roughly once every two months in the Los Angeles and Southern California area. And it’s hardly a mortal threat to any of the communities there.
I don’t see why people are so surprised. Unless Mountain Lions are uncommon in Virginia, there will probably be more of this sort of thing in the future. It is a common problem with “growth” as the animals run out of natural habitat due to development.
You just need to be prepared by making sure there are skilled wildlife and game professionals ready to respond as needed (much like the police might respond to a 911 emergency) to capture and relocate the animal to a more suitable habitat.
Note also that a day after the Newsplex ran their cougars-are-here story they turned around and retracted it. Oooops.
I think “terrorizing” is a bit extreme. There’s one paranoid old lady who found some foot prints outside her window that may or may not be Cougar. When I first heard this story, I’d imagined a snarling mountain lion scratching to get in. Trust me, if it wanted it, then it could leave more damage than just a few paw prints.
I’m also dubious about VDGIF’s promise to relocate the animal if caught. Where exactlyin Virginia are they going to relocate it? Besides the Ramsey’s Draft area, I can’t imagine anywhere big enough to contain a create with this large of a range besides Shenendoah. In the west, they live side by side with these animals with few conflicts. Maybe the woman should instead consider ways to keep animals out of her petfood and garbage. That’s the problem, not the animal itself.
The letter you cite is a perfect example of what’s happening to our countryside and wildlife. It’s becoming squeezed in between McMansions filled with urban transplants, and “Good ol’ Boys” (and gals) whos solution to everything is “Shoot it”. Imagine if we just shot every person that we found irritating or a “potential” threat? Unfortunately though, that’s essentially been our policy towards wildlife in Virginia since Jamestown. In fact, the VDGIF’s response to Elk returning to Virginia was exactly the same.
When something like this comes up, I tend to ask, “Who’s trespassing on whose property?” Nearly every time, the humans are the offenders.