The New Urban Jungle: City Dwelling Lions and Bears?

Coyote: “Hi I’m a coyote, we’re from out of town!”

Scientist: “There goes the neighbourhood!”

Newly discovered urban coyotes could be an early sign that larger carnivores will soon start to eye up humanity’s main territory: the city.

This from EurekaAlert:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – About five miles from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, scientists have located the smallest known coyote territory ever observed. For at least six years, a coyote community has maintained its existence within about a third of a square mile.

“That’s an indication that they don’t have to go far to find food and water. They’re finding everything they need right there, in the suburbs of Chicago,” said Stan Gehrt, an associate professor of environment and natural resources at Ohio State University who has led the tracking of coyotes around Chicago for 12 years. “It amazes me.”

Coyotes are the largest of the mammalian carnivores to have made their way to, and thrived in, urban settings, Gehrt said.

“The coyote is the test case for other animals. Raccoons, skunks, foxes – they’ve already been able to penetrate the urban landscape pretty well. The coyote is the most recent and largest. The jury’s out with what’s going to happen with the bigger ones,” he said.

The bigger ones include wolves, mountain lions and bears. Mountain lions have been seen on the fringes of cities already, and one was shot near the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago.

“They are going to be an even bigger challenge,” Gehrt said.

Full story here.

Meanwhile in South East England the BBC has been counting the cost of an apparently futile search for a lion which was feared to be on the loose in British suburbia:

BBC NEWS reports:

Police dispatched more than 30 officers and spent more than £3,000 on helicopter time in their hunt for the “Essex lion”, it has emerged.

The search for a “lion” seen in St Osyth, near Clacton-on-Sea, began at 18:58 BST on 26 August.

Despite a police search of the area, no lion was found and the operation was called off the next day.

Essex Police said 31 officers took part in the search, overtime was paid and £3,600 was spent on helicopters.

One possible explanation for the sighting was provided by Ginny Murphy, of St Osyth, who claimed the animal spotted was her pet cat, called Teddy Bear.

(My emphasis) Full story here.

Nick Margerrison

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  • Anarchy Tailypo(ny)

    Just be glad they aren’t skags.

  • Anarchy Tailypo(ny)

    Just be glad they aren’t skags.

    • Matt Staggs

       Gamer-like typing detected.

      • Anarchy Tailypo(ny)

        Level 35 Assassin, 20 commando, 16 gunzerker, 4 Siren, on 360, gamertag Hidden Wolfe, if anyone wants to join me. Usually on after 5:00 pm US pacific standard time.

      • Anarchy Tailypo(ny)

        Level 35 Assassin, 20 commando, 16 gunzerker, 4 Siren, on 360, gamertag Hidden Wolfe, if anyone wants to join me. Usually on after 5:00 pm US pacific standard time.

    • Matt Staggs

       Gamer-like typing detected.

  • Thom Vane

    I don’t get the Coyote joke..

  • Ted Heistman

    I love urban coyotes! I’ve seen them in Madison WI, which is a pretty big city. Racoons are awesome too. I really like seeing things, like crows, adapt to urban environments. A lot of things that adapt well are considered “invasive.”

    But I just think that’s what it takes to adapt to the anthropocentric age. Long live weeds! I forage for edible weeds too, like pigweed and purslane and dandilions. 

    • Calypso_1

      Hawks and herons have really taken to urban environments in the past decade as well. 
      I’ve seen river otters moving closer to suburban areas as well (not just the humans encroaching on their previous habitat).

      What about burdock, that’s a good one to forage.

    • Calypso_1

      Hawks and herons have really taken to urban environments in the past decade as well. 
      I’ve seen river otters moving closer to suburban areas as well (not just the humans encroaching on their previous habitat).

      What about burdock, that’s a good one to forage.

      • Ted Heistman

         Nah, I don’t eat that. I don’t eat anything hard core just stuff that tastes good! Pigweed, chickweed, purslane, dandilions, broad leaf dock, plantain, wood sorrel, stuff like that. Also black caps, blue berries, grapes, Apples, which are kind of feral.

        I don’t eat the tougher greens that require cooking, of course I have eaten mustard Garlic, which is really good fresh in an omelet

      • Ted Heistman

         Nah, I don’t eat that. I don’t eat anything hard core just stuff that tastes good! Pigweed, chickweed, purslane, dandilions, broad leaf dock, plantain, wood sorrel, stuff like that. Also black caps, blue berries, grapes, Apples, which are kind of feral.

        I don’t eat the tougher greens that require cooking, of course I have eaten mustard Garlic, which is really good fresh in an omelet

        • Calypso_1

          hmmm, burdock can be prepared in numerous ways – note Jin’s comment.  Look to the asian methods of cooking it.  It blends in very well in stir fry.

        • Jin The Ninja

          ever try wild ramps, fiddleheads, or garlic scapes ? young cat tails are good too. also shiso leaf grows wild in much of the US now, and you can make an amazing tempura with it. and life isn’t complete until you’ve eaten saskatoon and/or cloudberries.

          • Ted Heistman

             Yeah, I had sakatoon berries. Garlic scapes too. Fiddleheads never tasted that good to me. Basically this summer I had a wild salad almost everyday mixed with lettuce I was growing. I put either strawberries, blue berries or black berries on it for garnish with some olive oil and rice vinegar. occasionally crumbles of aged cheddar. Yum! I felt great and lost 25 lbs.

            Of course I was doing hard physical labor too.

          • Matt Staggs

             Down south “Polk” or “Poke” Salad has come to be a generic term for any mixture of wild edible greens. This, like many of the foods considered ‘good southern food’, have their roots in the grinding poverty endemic to the region. It’s always interesting that so much good food comes from so little. It’s true around the world.

          • Matt Staggs

             Down south “Polk” or “Poke” Salad has come to be a generic term for any mixture of wild edible greens. This, like many of the foods considered ‘good southern food’, have their roots in the grinding poverty endemic to the region. It’s always interesting that so much good food comes from so little. It’s true around the world.

      • Ted Heistman

         Yeah, I like seeing redtailed hawks in cities. I see them a lot getting mobbed by crows. Crows hold grudges! I watched a TED talk about these crows that got trapped by some University students who did experiments on them and then released them.

        Those crows mobbed those same students until the day they graduated! They had to wear disguises for studies after that!

      • Jin The Ninja

         love burdock. i especially love it korean-style (우엉조림) as banchan.

  • zombieslapper

    I’ve seen more coyotes here in this crappy little suburb than I have racoons. Deer like to wander around in some of the yards closer to the wooded or prairie areas. Lots of hawks, too. Even in the city… They hang out near the highways looking for easy prey.

    But I’d rather not see a bear while I’m walking my early morning paper routes…

  • kowalityjesus

    I don’t know why its big news all the way out at o’hare.  Ive seen two within a mile of the lake on the north side.  They’re probably eating rats that have gotten too big for cats.  And discarded pizza.

  • kowalityjesus

    I don’t know why its big news all the way out at o’hare.  Ive seen two within a mile of the lake on the north side.  They’re probably eating rats that have gotten too big for cats.  And discarded pizza.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    about 60 miles NW of NYC
    I had bears, one even came into the kitchen
    and took out my garbage
    but I couldn’t train her to do that every day

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    about 60 miles NW of NYC
    I had bears, one even came into the kitchen
    and took out my garbage
    but I couldn’t train her to do that every day

  • geoarltr

    I live on a pretty little hill overlooking the river and Highway 101.  I live in a community spread out over an area 40 miles long and 30 miles wide at points.  There are about 20,000 people in this community.  On a regular basis you see a wide variety of critters. I have seen at  one time or another a group of 10 or more  feral pigs, a herd of deer, fox, racoon, flying squirrels and on multiple occasions a mountain lion, bear or bobcat.  Our community is rife with wildlife and we live securely in their midst.  It is errant humans that threaten us the most. 

  • geoarltr

    I live on a pretty little hill overlooking the river and Highway 101.  I live in a community spread out over an area 40 miles long and 30 miles wide at points.  There are about 20,000 people in this community.  On a regular basis you see a wide variety of critters. I have seen at  one time or another a group of 10 or more  feral pigs, a herd of deer, fox, racoon, flying squirrels and on multiple occasions a mountain lion, bear or bobcat.  Our community is rife with wildlife and we live securely in their midst.  It is errant humans that threaten us the most. 

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