Academic journal article Social Education

Life on the Wild Side: Suggested Issues for Research and Discussion

Academic journal article Social Education

Life on the Wild Side: Suggested Issues for Research and Discussion

Article excerpt

Coyotes

Coyotes are moving into suburban areas and are blamed for eating cats. There is a motion at the town council meeting to have all of the coyotes killed by a trapper. At a town meeting, these issues are debated:

* What is our responsibility to try to co-exist with natural predators?

* To what extent should cats be allowed to roam free, given that they are not indigenous and prey heavily on songbirds and small mammals.

* What exactly are the conflicts with the coyotes? Are some of the problems based only on fear and rumor? How many cat deaths can be clearly attributed to coyotes as opposed to disease, cars, and being lost?

* What kinds of non-lethal solutions might be used to resolve particular problems?

* Compare national accident statistics to humans from coyotes and from domestic dogs. Dogs kill approximately 17 people each year in the United States, and more than 300,000 people are treated for dog bites in emergency rooms annually. Typically, coyotes bite fewer than 7 people annually. Why might our tolerance for wildlife be different that that for domestic animals when it comes to human safety?

Rabies

News stories might lead one to believe that rabies is a major killer of humans, but human fatalities from the disease number only 2 to 3 a year.

* Why is so much money put into rabies control when other diseases are so much more of a human health threat?

* Why are most human deaths to rabies in the United States a result of bat strain rabies?

* Bats are extremely beneficial animals, and play a major role in crop polination and insect control (see www.batcon.org). Should bats be allowed to roost in people's attics? If not, what is the best way to evict them?

Alien Species

Today, New Orleans is being eaten by billions of Formosa termites, transported from China in the early 1940s aboard wooden packing cases on ships. …

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