To the editor:
In light of the recent heightened cougar activity in Omaha, Neb., the discovery Sunday of a 115-pound male cougar hit by a car on I-80 on the outskirts of Omaha and the continuing failure of Kansas to seriously study the resurgence of cougars in the plains, I hope we will be responsible and make smart decisions for ourselves and our families.
Clear brushy weedy areas from your yard and the perimeter of your yard. Do not let pets out alone at night. If your pet is barking, investigate. Let him in.
If your pets live outdoors, make sure the pen has a top. Cougars have no problem leaping straight up 15 feet, and have gone into pens to "hunt" pets.
Do not let children play alone in overgrown brushy creeks and fields. Don't leave pet food or water out, feed wildlife or provide hay to deer in your yard, unless you are comfortable having a cougar possibly take up residence near your yard because of the easy pickings and the frequency of wildlife observed in your yard, as the cougar patrols his territory. Mountain lions WANT to eat deer. They are a great natural resource for keeping deer numbers healthy. In South Dakota it appears a large deer population has been struck by wasting disease. This can wipe out a deer population. South Dakota just opened a hunting season on mountain lions. Maybe that's poorly timed.
While we wait for Kansas to take us seriously, we can live responsibly and encourage mountain lions that the hunting is better out of town.
Mary Lou Keim,