Wednesday, November 07, 2012

America Gone Wild

America Gone Wild
The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2012

This year, Princeton, N.J., has hired sharpshooters to cull 250 deer from the town's herd of 550 over the winter. The cost: $58,700. Columbia, S.C., is spending $1 million to rid its drainage systems of beavers and their dams. The 2009 "miracle on the Hudson," whenUS Airways flight 1549 had to make an emergency landing after its engines ingested Canada geese, saved 155 passengers and crew, but the $60 million A320 Airbus was a complete loss. In the U.S., the total cost of wildlife damage to crops, landscaping and infrastructure now exceeds $28 billion a year ($1.5 billion from deer-vehicle crashes alone), according to Michael Conover of Utah State University, who monitors conflicts between people and wildlife.

Those conflicts often pit neighbor against neighbor. After a small dog in Wheaton, Ill., was mauled by a coyote and had to be euthanized, officials hired a nuisance wildlife mitigation company. Its operator killed four coyotes and got voice-mail death threats. A brick was tossed through a city official's window, city-council members were peppered with threatening emails and letters, and the FBI was called in. After Princeton began culling deer 12 years ago, someone splattered the mayor's car with deer innards


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