The most dangerous animal, globally and throughout human history, is undoubtedly the mosquito. Even Las Vegas sprawls across a rare desert valley with reliable sources of life-giving fresh water, supplied by artesian aquifers the nearby Spring Mountains. And predators can help control diseases by consuming rodent and insect pests.
Next are dogs—man's best friend—followed by spiders, snakes, scorpions, centipedes and rats. A 21st-century approach to urban wildlife must include four elements: Alligators bounced back from near extinction to populate creeks and ponds from Miami to Memphis. The results were swift and unmistakable. Most big American cities occupy sites that were once rich ecosystems. Yet the official response in many areas has been, at best, disorganized, and people's responses varied. By the beginning of the 20th century, the country's metropolitan fauna had been reduced to a motley collection of exotic rodents and birds, packs of mangy dogs, and the urban environment 's most fearsome apex predator, the house cat, which terrorized any remaining native songbirds. Once a rare sight outside forests, deer have spread widely and in their abundance, altered ecosystems. Fishers, members of the weasel family once regarded as reclusive denizens of northern forests, found homes from cushy Philadelphia suburbs to the mean streets of New York. By the s, larger mammals began to appear in the shadows. Nevertheless, officials have responded to coyote sightings in New York and other cities by rounding them up and moving them to more "appropriate" habitats. But in at least one recent Manhattan case, the critter in question escaped after a chaotic and expensive three-hour pursuit that embarrassed the authorities and revealed the ad hoc nature of our policies. For Bambi, people were careless arsonists and bloodthirsty predators who forced woodland creatures "deep into the forest. In the Southern California city where I live, the newest addition to our urban menagerie is a small population of badgers. By far the most dangerous animals in North America, as measured in human fatalities, are bees, wasps and hornets. Foxes, skunks, raccoons and possums became ubiquitous American urbanites. Beginning in the s, new laws sought to recover threatened species , and many states curtailed predator control programs. How long will it be until wolves show up in the Denver suburbs? And predators can help control diseases by consuming rodent and insect pests. The time has come for us to accept that these animals are here to stay, and develop a new approach to urban wildlife. Deer, which had nearly disappeared in several northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, multiplied on golf courses, ball fields and front yards. People react with fear because they have been led to believe that any wild animal bigger than breadbox must be dangerous. Aquatic mammals such as beavers and sea lions staged remarkable comebacks, including in urban waters. People brought nothing good to the forest. The most dangerous animal, globally and throughout human history, is undoubtedly the mosquito. A suitable habitat does not have to be a remote wilderness or protected sanctuary; it must only have sufficient resources to attract and support a population.
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Mix - Keith Urban - John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16
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