For generations, human activity was blamed for the disappearance of several species from our region. And, it was true, we were not the best stewards of this land and water. But human activity also has been responsible for positive changes, for which little credit is given.
During recent decades, corporations cleaned up their acts a bit, individuals took greater responsibility for their personal environments, hunters played a greater role in conservation in addition to recreation and wildlife we all thought was gone forever decided to come home.
Some of it has returned to such a degree that it is considered a nuisance. Take the Canada goose, for example, which was a rarity in this area even 40 years ago. In another part of the country, a 21-year study showed the Canada geese population increased by nearly12 times during that span.
Good news came this week for another rarity that is increasing in number. According to Ohio’s Division of Wildlife, there were 200 verified bobcat sightings in the state in 2013. It is the fourth consecutive year with more than 100 verified sightings of the cat, and the first time sightings have reached 200. The bobcat is returning because its habitat in Ohio is once again suitable to sustain a population.
Such change is happening all over the developed world. In Germany, for example, animals that had been considered extinct in the country – some, like the wolf, for hundreds of years – are making a comeback. Germany, which, as an aside, decided to shutter all its nuclear power plants in 2011, and now gets the majority of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, is seeing the return of wolves, wild cats, and European bison. There are now 20 wolf packs in Germany.
These small victories will not be trumpeted by environmentalists because they run counter to their agenda against affordable electricity and responsible resource development. But the next time you hear the bone-chilling shriek of a bobcat in the woods, or read about efforts to shoo Canada geese away from airports, remember we were told we had driven these creatures from our region, and that only radical, economically devastating changes could save them.