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Drought is a scapegoat for wildlife in urban areas

Mountain lions' range is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The California drought is being blamed for increased sightings of wild animals in urban areas, a situation for which humans are more likely responsible, reported Haya El Nasser on Al Jazeera America.

The story said a bear recently wandered into a Little League baseball game in San Luis Obispo and mountain lions are jumping fences in Northern California to kill goats. Experts said the sightings might be unusual, but not abnormal.

For decades, the article said, sprawling development into natural habitats has brought wild animals face to face with humans.

“In many cases, resources along the edge of the suburbs are far more reliable than resources out in the wild, because every year people are going to irrigate their fruit trees. Every year they're going to irrigate their lawns,” said Tom Scott, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist. “Animals are quick to use resources that are available.”

Scott said the drought is taking a toll on wildlife reproduction.

“This is the third year of drought, and that's three bad years of reproduction for wildlife species,” he said. “Wildlife population is starting to decline. It's attrition rather than a catastrophic drop, but if we went through another drought year, who knows?”

Posted on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Tags: bear (2), drought (171), mountain lion (3), Tom Scott (8), wildlife (33)

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