ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Cougars, bears and wolves, oh my! Thanks to storybook tales like The Wizard of Oz and Little Red Riding Hood, the public has been taught to fear predators that have historically been a natural part of our local ecosystem. And while the frequency of lone cougar, bear and wolf sightings in Northern Illinois has increased over the past few years, the public shouldn’t panic or overreact. Animals do not know they have a tendency to scare us and there are many reasons as to why they are appearing in our neighborhoods.
In response to public reports of sporadic cougar, wolf, and even black bear sightings in northern Illinois, University of Illinois Extension invites the public to attend an educational program entitled Large Predators Return. Extension Educator, Peggy Doty, will be the featured presenter and will focus on top predators, their habitat requirements, and the complex behavior that plays a role in their limited return to our area.
“Before we settled this area in the early 1800’s, these animals lived here. Our cultural advancements and landscape changes have escorted many of these animals away from what used to be their native habitat,”states Doty. “These animals aren’t planning a covert return and takeover of our communities,” she continues, “they are simply trying to adjust to the continual changes in their environment which can lead them in our direction.”
Large Predators Return will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on May 27, 2014 at Atwood Center, 2685 New Milford Center Road, Rockford. To register, please visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw or call (815) 986-4357. There is a $5 fee to attend.