Monday, April 16, 2007
Coyotes in Congress. . .
. . .well, not literally, but they're closing in.
Coyotes have been spotted in Rock Creek Park, a lovely, green swath that runs through the middle of the District of Columbia. Pets have gone missing and people are haunted by late night howling.
Some of us view this as progress because the coyotes may help trim the over population of deer in the park. Perhaps they'll curb the proliferation of rats and mice, too. On the other hand, the coyotes have been driven out of natural habitat by development.
I was thrilled several years ago when I spotted my first Great Blue Heron, flying parallel to our car along the C&O canal. Now, they have made themselves at home in a man made pond near the Vietnam Memorial and on the Potomac River, not far from the airport.
One night while driving some visitors around the city, we spotted a red fox crossing Independence Avenue heading for the Tidal Basin.
Before the coyotes appeared, birds of prey found their way back into the city. Tourists were shocked to witness a peregrine falcon devour a duck on the south lawn of the White House. I'd be happy if they'd take out some of the pigeons!
The first Earth Day observance was on April 22,1970 and I was there on the grounds of the Washington Monument, all hopeful and inspired to change the world. Speakers then didn't talk about global warming or disappearing wildlife habitat. Were we so misguided, or did we just not get it?
Not much has changed in 30 years and we Americans are more gluttonous than ever for natural resources. Over sized vehicles, houses and bellies don't bode well for the future.
Perhaps if we learn from how wild animals are adapting to changes in their natural worlds we can preserve and protect more of our own -- and theirs -- for future generations.
Earth cannot wait another 30 years!