A couple of months ago, my husband and I started going to community meetings about an animal that’s quickly gaining nuisance status - elk. We like them wandering through the yard, even when they’re eating the trees and trying to slay the evil wheelbarrow. We’ve only been in the house 2 years now, and the antics of the spikes and calves still crack us up. Watching them run for no reason, tearing through the yard just because they can and seeing the tiny babies with their spots is just amazing.
In the last couple of meetings it has become clear to me that we’re some of the few who feel that way. Most folks are irritated because the elk are eating their shrubs and apples. The commercial folk want “someone” to pay for a fence to keep the elk out. This makes me crazy. None of these people moved into the area before there were large herbivores. They knew the risks and accepted them, but have since become dissatisfied.
I feel no pity for their plight.
We’re planning to put in a veggie garden, but I’m planning the fence that will go around it so that I get the fruits of my labor, instead of the elk. Yes, this is inconvenient and expensive. But it’s the price I pay for sharing my yard with nature, and I pay it gladly. If you want perfectly manicured yards, or don’t want to deal with wild things, move back to the city. The hermetically sealed and controlled yard just doesn’t exist out here.
I started going to these meetings because I wanted to make sure that at least one person there actually wanted elk to stick around. I’ve learned a lot during these meetings, especially around the size of the herd and their territory. I’m still strongly of the opinion that the people here need to be aware of their wild neighbors and accommodate them. Fortunately, I get to continue to express this as I was elected to our voting committee last night. I’m really excited about this, in large part because I was asked to join, specifically because of my contrary views. I’m really hoping to bring some alternate view points to the group and keep them grounded in doing what’s best for the animals and not just the people.