‘Large Predators Return … Or Are They?’ set for Feb. 5

By U of I Extension

OREGON, Ill. — Cougars, wolves and bears have all been spotted in Illinois over the past few years. It is important for people to understand why we are hearing about these mammals in the news more often.

Animals do not think the way humans do, and yet we continue to be anthropomorphic, giving them human traits and reasons for their actions.

Animals do not know they have a tendency to scare us, especially if they are large and higher on the food chain. University of Illinois Extension Educator Peggy Doty will be offering “Large Predators Return … Or Are They?” This program will focus on the behaviors of cougars, wolves and black bears and why they may be visiting us again.

The informational program will be from 6 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Ogle County Extension office at 421 W. Pines Road in Oregon, Ill. The fee for this program is $5. Call the Extension office at (815) 732-2191.

There are many reasons, scientific and unknown, as to why we are starting to see the occasional lone large predator in Illinois.

We need to remember that before we settled the area in the early 1800s, these animals lived here,” Doty said. “Our cultural advancements and changes have escorted many of these animals away from what used to be their native habitat.”

Doty also talks about the local habitat’s inability to sustain complete populations of these large mammals, but those that can adapt to less fitting ecosystems may try to spend some time back in their original homeland.

These animals aren’t planning a covert return and takeover of our communities, they simply are trying to adjust to changes in their current environments which can lead them our direction,” Doty said.

As a result of the sporadic sightings of cougars, wolves and even black bears in Illinois, Doty is offering this program to discuss the animals themselves and the behaviors that may be playing a part in their attempts to return.

Posted Jan. 29, 2014

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