Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Stray Cat Moan

In the town where Jerry Garcia was born, but more recently where Steve Jobs and Steve Young reside, a man vs. nature vignette came to a sad close yesterday. Palo Alto police shot a 108 lb. mountain lion, after being treed by a neighborhood dog, on an upscale suburban street.

It's a shame it had to go down like this. Maybe if I had kids - they say that cub-protection instinct is mighty powerful - I might feel differently. Sure, I can appreciate it's an alarming thought that a big predator was on the loose near 2 elementary schools. But still, it's sad. The Fish and Game Department say tranqs wouldn't have worked reliably enough, to insure the public safety. Maybe; but why do the dart guns seem to work so well on TV?

It’s alarming that they [the big cats] are in our foothills, and even more alarming that they found their way into the neighborhoods,” said Detective Kara Apple of the Palo Alto Police Department. The problem with this comment is it's akin to saying it's alarming nature exists in and near our natural preserves. One of the reasons it is so wonderful to live in our Peninsula communities, is because we still have so much wild space left here. Nature doesn't encroach upon Man. Detective Apple, with all due respect, consider relocating.

A local TV crew happened to be on the scene, actually being the ones to spot the cat. It was in a tree, next to an occupied Palo Alto patrol car! Eternal Vigilance and all that. Here's the video.

In the past few weeks, there have been at least 2 reported horse maulings on the Stanford University campus (clearly not your typical urban collegiate community). They're not saying this is the same cat; but having lived around here for 15 years now, we don't get many sightings, period. For there to be 2 cats, well, let's just say I think Steve Jobs can rest easy now, in that backyard hammock of his.

I still look forward to seeing a living lion on a hike, or even in my neighborhood, someday. You see, I have the skillz - just ask the local grey heron, raccoons, grey foxes, bobcats and coyotes. They know I'm baad, the alpha and the omega. Without bullets.

"Sometimes, it gets to where its been, they just won't let you be-e-e-e-e."

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