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The bulldozer wins

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Dear HCN,

"Bulldozers Roll in Tucson" described the tragedy one can expect when wildlife gets in the way of children - and their parents. I learned this lesson at a middle school built in a piûon-juniper forest near Cedar City, Utah. The spring after the school opened, roaming students spotted a nearby great horned owl nest. After scaring the parents off, they snatched all three owlets and proceeded to torture them. One baby was dead by the time an adult saved a second would-be victim. The third owlet was rescued by a lone brave teen amidst the jeers of his schoolmates.

The traumatized survivors were turned over to me, the local wildlife rehabber at the time. I raised them until I located a great horned owl family which graciously took the waifs in. It was impossible to return them to a home that had become a death trap for wildlife.

The school staff scoffed at the idea that students should be disciplined for thrill-killing. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources didn't care to pursue the matter either. All the authorities involved were soulmates of Esther Underwood, the mother who crowed about her "pretty" bulldozer's victory over "eco-freakos." When it's owls versus kids, there's no contest.

Lester Wood

Coleville, California

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