Not spooked by wildlife

Alessandra DeClario snapped a quick photo of "the Latigo Mountain Lion," which is actually a target for an Archery Club.

Lions here, lions there, lions, lions everywhere! I call the one in the photo I took, the Latigo Mountain Lion. While driving up Latigo I was excited to see what I thought was a mountain lion. As any nature-loving photographer would do, I slowed down the car. Using all my naturalist training, I slowly exited the car leaving the door open (just in case!) and edged my way to a bush to take my photograph. Well, the “mountain lion” turned out to be a target for the Archery Club! (I rather they use something other than replicas of animals!)

How interesting that one’s mind can pick up things in the environment and “see” it in a certain way. I was happy and excited. I have seen lots of wildlife including bobcats and coyotes many times; mountain lions four times and photographed one last year and I’m not telling where! (Last time I blurted out my wonderful news, several people went and got their guns!). Although I reacted in this way, I realized the many different ways one could have reacted-running and getting a gun for example. With all this negative publicity about wildlife, recently being especially directed toward the mountain lion, there is fear. Needless to say, a creature of this size should be looked at in awe and with definite caution. However, remember the famous saying, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Well think about it! Our thoughts do create our actions!

Perhaps more attention should be on the human predator. Think about those who abuse the elderly and children; think about the pedophiles. What type of world is the new generation entering. Think about all the computer war games, violent TV and movies. Then think about budget cuts in education. Where is the attention, creating a generation that will look at war as a game and use the term collateral damage? I think what we need to teach is love and understanding.

We live in a beautiful paradise that can be shared by all. The fear of wildlife is absurd when we think about the many problems in our society. My hope is that we can learn to share our love and compassion and ease fears.

Alessandra DeClario