The mountain lion attacked so fast, it barely made a noise.
In the middle of the night earlier this week, a lion snuck into an Idledale, Colorado resident’s bedroom, and in an instant, snatched a 12-year-old yellow Labrador retriever named Scout while his owners slept just a few feet away, the Denver Post reported.
The lion, a 130-pound male, bolted through the window with the dog in its jaws, cleared a six-foot fence, and was gone. The next day, personnel from Colorado Division of Wildlife set a trap for the lion where he stashed the dog’s carcass. When the lion returned to feed, it was killed.
Events like this recharge debate about the sometimes bloody clashes between people and wild animals that occur at the intersection of development and wilderness.
The exurbanization of undesignated wilderness areas is an extremely complicated issue—people gotta live somewhere, but so do mountain lions. It’s well justified to destroy an apex predator that sneaks into homes to hunt, which is a sure deviation from natural behavior. Not to mention that Scout’s fate could have easily befallen a child. Yet it’s still hard to fault the mountain lion completely.
Nature is lazy; opportunistic predators are always going to pounce on the easy meal. Humans and some wide-ranging migratory birds are among the few species that will do things just because they’re hard, and carving a home out of the Colorado wilderness is a convenient example of this.
The lion’s behavior was unnatural, no doubt, but it’s hard to imagine the beast would have gotten a taste for pets, if homes weren’t encroaching on its habitat in the first place.
So, I ask you: Are humans justified in wielding the fiery sword of natural selection by killing non-people-fearing animals, or are hunted and snatched pets an inevitable form of collateral damage?