From: Jim Beers [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 3:58 PM
To: Jim Beers
Subject: Right Here in River City
IOWA, LIONS, & YOU
Iowa: the subject of musicals (The Music Man); jokes ("the first prize is a weeks vacation in Iowa and second prize is two weeks vacation in Iowa"); and now the latest example of hidden agendas, out-of-control bureaucracies, and predators as "tools-of-the-trade" for the UN and radical groups.
THE CRITTER -
To begin with, the lions referred to in the title are mountain lions or cougars. The last few years have seen increasing sightings of the big cats in Iowa. Cats harming livestock and pets as well as scaring parents and rural and suburban residents are increasingly common in the state. Records of these incidents are haltingly recorded by government and commonly unreported by citizens. The state bureaucrats do not want to alarm folks and the citizens are cautious about getting "into trouble" for killing or wounding a cougar.
The reasons for this situation and the emerging scenario are both fascinating and a valuable lesson for people across this great nation. Examples of poor laws, unresponsive politicians, uncontrolled bureaucracies, hidden UN and extremist environmental agendas, unrecognized threats to private property and hunting and fishing, and a growing danger to humans of all stripes are blended with antiquated government structures and half truths to make a witches brew that is bubbling at one stage or another in every State in the union.
Cougars are currently unprotected in Iowa. That means you can "take" (i.e. "kill) one attacking your horse (they like horsemeat) or one attacking your dog or one hanging around your local grade school bus stop or even one you blunder upon while deer hunting or coyote hunting. Of course local gun laws apply so you probably can't shoot one running across your driveway in Des Moines. The same restrictions apply as deferral to applicable State and Federal laws regarding poisons, explosives, snares, traps, airplanes, etc. Also, property rights enter the picture in that you may not come onto my property to kill or photograph etc. a cougar without my permission absent some emergency court or police order in the case, for instance, of a cat that recently killed someone. Everyone however is aware of "animal welfare" police actions and the raw savagery of an animal rights attack from out of state, in the media, or by zealous animal rights-oriented law enforcement officers and courts.
Cougars were intermittent inhabitants of Iowa as far back as we know. Woodlands and grasslands have waxed and waned in the percent of Iowa each has claimed over the centuries. Big animals like bison and elk and deer and bears and small animals like rabbits and grouse likewise waxed and waned as dry spells or fires or winter weather changed and Native American (themselves invaders from Asia) numbers, health, war status, and distribution varied. All of these things individually and collectively increased, decreased, and periodically eliminated cougars in what we today call Iowa.
Can cougars live in extensive cornfields or soybean fields? In pastures (absent the stock)? In Des Moines? In suburbs? Along roads? The answer to all these is of course NO. If we rephrase "can" to "should" some folks in Des Moines and lots of affluent folks in urban enclaves across the nation would say YES.
Can cougars live exclusively in tiny park areas or only on the limited public lands in Iowa? The answer is NO, they wander far and wide and need to feed on meat often and in quantity.
Where the (handful?) of lions in Iowa have come from is anyone's guess. Lion sightings and lion incidents are up all over the Midwest. Many folks believe they are secretly released by State or Federal agencies or animal rights groups: others believe they are the natural dispersal of increasing lion populations all over the West due to hunting and trapping restrictions and total protection areas. This latter is especially responsible for lion behavior modification such that they are less wary of humans and more likely to live and kill in close proximity to humans in places that they formerly would have avoided like Iowa. I believe in the dispersal theory.
Where do they live in a place like Iowa and what do they eat? They could live in and around the wooded river bottoms along the Mississippi and some of the major Iowa streams. They could live in and around large wetland complexes and wooded sections of NW Iowa. That said they would be wandering in and out of these areas and any offspring would certainly be driven out of any use of these small areas of concealment and what can only be described as places of rest and breeding for these animals. Over time they would "adapt" to any locations where they could find food, in other words anywhere. They eat horses and calves and foals and hogs and sheep and deer (Iowa has a very valuable trophy deer herd that is enthusiastically hunted by affluent hunters from all over the nation) and almost any other live critter wild or domestic that provides fresh meat. They eat children and young adults and even full adults. They kill pets, joggers, bicyclists, lone workmen, children on hikes or going to school or camping, and mothers in their gardens or just going out on their deck. Such incidents are increasingly common all over the West and Canada as animal rights protectionism takes hold. Lions eat a lot and they will gorge on a kill, cover up any remains, and after a nap and some digesting gorge again. Most kills will be dragged or carried off to some location offering concealment and a view of the surroundings. Occasionally a horse will get away and die later or, in a place like Iowa where humans abound, a kill will be interrupted by a farmer or armed citizen. What this means is many pets and livestock are either maimed for life or have to be "destroyed". As far as humans go, the incidence of lion/human encounters will go up with the lion population so serious injuries and deaths will be expected in spite of the current nonsense about "puffing up" and "don't look in their eyes" or the cynicism of "we are in their habitat" or "they 'balance' the ecosystem".
Some people will say, "lions are part of the 'Native Ecosystem' and contribute to biodiversity". What is a "Native Ecosystem" in Iowa? Corn? Dubuque? Interstates? Iowa State University? When did Iowa have this revered "Native Ecosystem"? Before Statehood? Before Europeans arrived? Before the Asians arrived? Before or after the glaciers? What do the plants and animals of any of those periods have to do with the human society and patterns of 21st century Iowa? How can the addition of one very dangerous and harmful species be lauded as contributing to "biodiversity" and the recent addition of one very beneficial and highly sought after fish species (brown trout) be condemned because it was brought over from Europe 200 years ago and is vilified as an "Invasive Species" that "reduces biodiversity"?
THE PLOT -
Recently an Iowa resident told me the following. The State fish and wildlife agency is about to put the cougar on the furbearer list. This will "protect" the cougar unless the State sets a season and conditions for take. Killing a lion that is killing your stock or pet will be legally dangerous as the State could assert you should have called them or should have gotten a permit or that a Sheriff's deputy should contact a warden or etc., etc. A human attack would presumably be OK to stop lethally (to the cat) but even there as shown by animal rights radicals and Federal agents following up on such reports concerning wolves and grizzly bears in the West, attempts to prosecute someone killing a "protected" animal will chill the reactions of other folks finding themselves in a similar position.
He then told me they did not know how many cougars there were and that they were reluctant to acknowledge how many complaints they knew about. That seemed odd to my caller since they were quietly proceeding to "protect" the lions. He asked if I had any suggestions or advice.
I told him that State estimates of cougar numbers would be suspect if they were doing this administrative maneuvering quietly. Right next door in Wisconsin I have had three callers in the past two years complain to me that the State wolf counts are kept artificially low by using wolf advocates to do "howl counts": when everyone knows what higher wolf counts mean, keeping the counts low avoids a lot of trouble. One need only look at black bears in Louisiana where (just like in New Jersey 20 years ago) hunters and the State agency paid to buy and reintroduce black bears for hunting but today are kept from hunting the overabundant bears. Louisiana is kept from hunting bears by an unjustified Federal Threatened Listing that also keeps a way over populated Florida bear population from being hunted and managed. In New Jersey, it's homegrown animal rights radicals and interventionist politicians prevent hunting, and management of the bears and cost the State millions annually. Numbers and facts weigh less all the time in these matters.
When I suggested he speak with some of the older fish and wildlife biologists, he told me he had spoken with a retired manager who said he didn't know much about it and a furbearer biologist who said he just knew they were doing this and someone else was really in charge of the change.
When I suggested he speak with his elected officials (Governor, Legislative Representative, etc.) he said they don't acknowledge "control" of the fish and wildlife agency. The fish and wildlife agency is "under" a fish and wildlife commission. (Such "commissions" were formed years ago to "protect" the fish and wildlife agencies from rapacious politicians that were routinely stealing fishing and hunting money and manipulating the agencies for personal purposes. Today such "commissions" are more and more being turned on hunters and fishermen both for financial gains and as places for animal rights radicals to get appointments from Governors they "helped" get elected.) So the politicians point to the commission and the commission reportedly says that it is a matter for the fish and wildlife agency "experts" to decide. What they (the commission and the politicians) have done is given very wide authority over all wildlife, soil, plants, and water in Iowa to their Department of Natural Resources whose main job IS TO GET EVERY PENNY OF AVAILABLE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE STATE.
So back to the fish and wildlife agency. The retired manager at first said he was ignorant of the lion status change but then admitted he was a supporter when he worked at the agency. He first said he didn't know anything about UN Agenda 21 and then later admitted admiring it. The employee said he didn't know much about anything. I told my caller I would call them and speak with them. The retired manager never returned my call. The State employee was (after three calls) either "just stepped out", "in meetings for three days", or "would call me back later this morning when I have some paper to take notes". In other words, they would not speak to me.
THE FUTURE -
UN Agenda 21 is an all-encompassing document about how the future world will be ordered by UN-led programs. It encompasses medicine, education, population control, income distribution, resource allocation, etc. All in all it is a very scary document to American citizens as it paints a future akin to one of those sci-fi thrillers like The Terminator or Escape from New York. Anyway, the environmental parts are straight out of the playbooks of PETA, TNC, HSUS, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, with a healthy dose of Karl Marx and UN one-worlders. It is laced with population control, rural countryside evacuation, government property control, living standards, and protection of all natural resources. Wildlands and "Corridors" under strict government control are everywhere mentioned with minimal roads or even waterway uses allowed. This Iowa/lion situation, like wolves; like grizzly bears; like Wilderness; like Roadless Areas; like hunting restrictions; like closed fishing areas; like elimination of harvest, cultivation, or management for all manner of fish, fowls, and mammals; like Invasive Species authorities pondered in Congress; like expanding Federal Animal Welfare authority; and so many other things, are steps in achieving UN Agenda 21.
The lions arrive somehow in the State. No one is sure how or how many there are but they "should" be "protected" because (here fill-in any of the numerous silliness mentioned above). Once protected, lawsuits and Federal requirements and "forward-looking" bureaucrats and politicians will increase the "protection" by banning every manner of "taking" and any "taking" by civilians or not under permit or on and on. And the lions will increase and people will at first spend more to keep livestock and pets and eventually stop such practices. Lifestyles will change as bike attacks and school bus stop attacks and camping attacks and fishing attacks happen. Professors will grind out "pulp research" claiming a "valuable" contribution to Iowa by the cats and the "need" for more habitat and corridors and rural countryside under government control. And the lions will increase. Then rural living both frivolous and for livelihoods will become less desirable as will rural property so government (both State and Federal) purchase and easement for "non-game" and "refuge" and "park" and "corridor" and "natural resource protection", etc. will increase. Oh. And the deer will once again disappear in Iowa as winter kills and kills of birthing females takes it's toll and the lions increase. And of course all of this will be denied and disproved by the State and Federal bureaucrats and the University professors and the media and the politicians and probably even the "commission" but Iowa will be GETTING EVERY PENNY OF AVAILABLE FEDERAL FUNDING and the lions will increase.
And most beautiful of all, there are no fingerprints left at the scene. Not the State politicians that turned things over to the commission. Not the commission that only let the "experts" get every penny due the State. Not the State bureaucrats that didn't know about anything. Not the University professors who only mention "science". Not the Federal politicians that kept shoveling more money to the US Fish and Wildlife Service "for the States" to keep their (the politician's) power. Not the federal bureaucrats who lifted stealing Federal funds each year from Congress to a high art form and then took out their chunks as they told the States how to spend the rest. Not the UN bureaucrats in New York or Switzerland as they pay off their villas in gated communities where they plan to retire. The environmental and animal rights executives and lobbyists will only smile in their remote urban enclaves as they hang up the phone with the characters mentioned above.
Like the people living with the bears in New Jersey and Louisiana and Florida, and the rural people everywhere living with wolves or grizzly bears, and rural people in places like Illinois or Massachusetts or California where guns are restricted by their own urban voters - soon enough the Iowans outside the urban core in Des Moines will be asking, "how did this happen?", "who the heck is responsible for this?", and "how do we get out of this?" but by then it will be too late.
5 Sep 2005
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