Here’s the tom who lives in our woodsy neighborhood with his harem. Our house is surrounded on 3 sides by woods. The few acres on 2 sides are ravine-ish, undeveloped, belong to the city. We own a mere acre between the low spots. This bit of woods is home to white-tail deer, gray and red fox, a passing coyote, a fleeting bobcat, nesting hawks, several resident owls, bats, raccoons, the usual small critters and a variety of lovely birds including Canada geese, ducks, turtles—you get the picture. We live a hop and a skip from the Twin Cities, and I love being surrounded by wild things. But I have to say, they don’t have much wild space. The critters I named are adapting to life in close proximity to people. But how well are we accommodating them?
I snapped these guys on Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. There aren’t any truly free-roaming buffalo anymore. We’re lucky this magnificent animal isn’t extinct.
I didn’t take this picture, but I have taken some like it during the drives we love to take along the Mississippi River. We’re lucky these guys have come roaring back from near extinction. Forty years ago you never saw an eagle in the Dakota skies. Now they’re a common sight. And what a sight!
My 10-year-old granddaughter will attend a week of camp this summer at Wolf Ridge on the shores of Lake Superior (Minnesota’s “up north”) this summer—she’s been awarded a full scholarship! The gray wolf survived in the wild in only 2 states—Minnesota and Alaska—and it’s been removed from the federal threatened list, which means management has been turned over to the Minnesota DNR. Hunters and trappers have their sights set on the first “harvest” in the near future, which is controversial.
The protection of wild horses is controversial, too. I’ve written a good deal about this over the years. I’m a horse lover. I’ve also been a rancher—the right-behind-you-honey partner—so I understand why the coexistence between wilderness and agriculture can be dicey.
I’ve been thinking about this quandry a lot lately. Where can the wild things be? It’s a problem manifesting itself all over the world, and I fear it’s a tragedy in the making. What’s it like in your neighborhood? How important is it to spare the world some wilderness, and where should it be? Do human needs take precedence, and under what circumstances? What do you think?
I’m celebrating the April birthday of both the aforementioned granddaughter (10th!) and the re-birthday of THE LAST GOOD MAN, available in trade paperback and e-book. There’s a $5 Amazon gift certificate in store for one of our visitors who leaves a comment today.