News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Friday, July 29, 2011

Even the cougars migrate away

Maybe I'll go for a walk.
A cougar was struck and killed by a car in Connecticut, which has not been home to cougars since colonial times. Wildlife officials wondered where it could have come from and traced it through DNA to the Black Hills of South Dakota, 1,500 miles away.  No one can suggest why a cougar would be lured so far away from home.

Unless it is following the general human trend of the nation.  The population shift from rural to urban areas has become  pronounced. Demographers say that the lines demarcating rural and urban areas may well be totally obliterated so that although the rural areas are being abandoned and small towns are emptied out, the urban overflow with a growing population may fill those rural reaches up again with an urban-patterned style of life.  

The migration from the rural areas has been a steady trend since the early part of the 20th century.  It is led by young people who are looking for better and more satisfying opportunities to earn their livings and find sex.  The driving forces in population  shifts are more jobs and money, and the prospects for better food and better sex.  Those quests are not necessarily  realized, but that doesn't keep the young and restless from looking.

For the cougar, the sex with no other cougars around Connecticut does not seem to be a motive.  Unless it decided to emulate the U.S. Congress and screw the pooch.  Which might be, because dogs are one of cougars' favorite food items.  They are easier to find and catch than other wildlife.

For young humans, the new motto may well be "Follow the cougar."  But while we may speculate about what is luring our young people away from rural America, we have a record of what is driving them away.  Wonder if our fine folks in South Dakota will ever have courage to face that question.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States