Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elk attract predators

The Sun Valley Elkhorn Association says they don't want to feed the elk, but we, as residents are doing so anyway with our trees and shrubs, so why not just move them up the hillside a little? I'm not excited that I had a huge mugo pine and some lilacs ruined, but it is far better to have the elk eat my shrubs than have them starve to death.

The only thing that bothers me and that no one ever seems to mention is that by having the elk population in my yard, this meant that we had both a mountain lion and a wolf walk through our yard last winter (as did many other folks in Elkhorn). I have a young daughter whom I felt I could not allow to go out to play after that, at least not alone, because I didn't want her snagged out of our yard. In the early spring when the snow was mostly gone but elk and predators were still around, I wouldn't let her ride her bike, either, because I know that bikers and runners are an attraction (of the human variety anyway) to mountain lions and we happen to live not far from the willows from whence the mountain lion came to attack a neighbor's dog. Trees I can replace, my daughter I cannot.

I have a love and deep respect for wolves, elk and mountain lions, and all the other creatures we see here in our community, but when we moved here in 1995 it wasn't quite so wild in my front yard. The elk were up on the hillside out of harm's way and we'd see fox, coyote and deer in our yards. I get it that the elk and other animals were here first, but isn't that why they started feeding the elk in the first place? To help them out by giving back something that we've taken away?

Well, at any rate, if a human, especially a child, gets taken out by a mountain lion, I just hope those who sued in the first place can sleep at night and live with the blood on their hands. I hope they'll feel it was worth it all for a bunch of replaceable trees and shrubs.

Heather Black

Sun Valley

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