Scientists believe wild animals, including wolves, lions and bears may soon adapt to urban living.

Colonies of coyotes have already established themselves in the suburbs of Chicago

Mountain lions have been sighted on the fringes of American cities, with one shot near the Wrigleyville neighbourhood of Chicago

Wolves and mountain lions could soon be a more common sight in densely populated cities in the United States, experts fear.

Colonies of coyotes have already established themselves in the suburbs of Chicago.

Scientists believe other potentially dangerous wild animals, including wolves, lions and bears, may soon be following in their footsteps as they adapt to urban living.

Yesterday a mountain lion stretching over 6-feet in size was shot dead by police officers in a residential area of Des Moines, Iowa while roaming just blocks from an elementary school and in a man's backyard.

Mountain lions have been sighted on the fringes of American cities, with one shot near the Wrigleyville neighbourhood of Chicago.

'The coyote is the test case for other animals,' said Dr Stan Gehrt, from Ohio State University, who has been tracking the wild dogs.

'Racoons, skunks, foxes - they’ve already been able to penetrate the urban landscape pretty well. The coyote is the most recent and largest. The jury’s out with what’s going to happen with the bigger ones. They are going to be an even bigger challenge.'

For at least six years, one small coyote community five miles from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has remained within a territory covering just a third of a square mile.

'That’s an indication that they don’t have to go far to find food and water,' said Dr Gehrt. 'They’re finding everything they need right there, in the suburbs of Chicago. It amazes me.'

He estimates that about 2,000 coyotes live in the city’s metro area, along with nine million people in 250 municipalities.

People living in urban areas are going to have to get used to predators on their doorstep, says Dr Gehrt.

He added: 'It used to be rural areas where we would have this challenge of coexistence versus conflict with carnivores. In the future, and I would say currently, it’s cities where we’re going to have this intersection between people and carnivores.

'We used to think only little carnivores could live in cities, and even then we thought they couldn’t really achieve large numbers. But we’re finding that these animals are much more flexible than we gave them credit for and they’re adjusting to our cities.

'That’s going to put the burden back on us. Are we going to be able to adjust to them living with us or are we not going to be able to coexist?'

Earlier this year police shot dead a mountain lion after it wandered into the downtown area of a busy city.

The large cat was found by a janitor in the courtyard of an office building near a popular open-air mall, the Third Street Promenade, in Santa Monica, California near a preschool, church and other businesses.

Authorities made multiple attempts to try and subdue the young male cat, including use of a tranquilizer and a pepper ball, according to Capt Daniel Sforza of the Fish and Game Department.

Dr Gehrt issued his warning at the EcoSummit 2012 meeting taking place in Columbus, Ohio.

He pointed out that historically, one reason people moved out of remote areas was to get away from dangerous large predators.

'The funny thing is that now we have more people on earth and bigger cities than ever, we also now have carnivores moving into cities,' said Dr Gehrt.

'It’s a two-way street. We’re expanding cities into their territories and they’re also coming in.'

Coyotes can be helpful by hunting rodents and rabbits, but will also eat the occasional cat or small dog, he said.

The animals do not usually attack humans. Waving arms, shouting, or throwing a rock will usually scare a threatening coyote away, said Dr Gehrt.


Responses to "Wolves and mountain lions 'poised to invade densely populated cities in the United States' (Video)"

  1. Lara says:

    we are in the animals territory...did people think that tis would not happen???

  2. Unknown says:

    they are killing for food its not like the just planed to kill her they were hungry and we need to stop encroaching on there land remember we were not all ways like we are now we lived in caves and hunted for food and we use to co exist b4 and we can again

  3. Unknown says:

    Here in Colorado the officials decided that it was okay to kill Coyotes because of an attack on a boy who approached one thinking it was a dog. Animal activists tried to protect the coyotes, but the cities involved decided to hire marksmen to shoot them down. The worst part is they didn't understand that by killing these animals, it would cause them to overpopulate themselves causing more of them to deal with. I think education is the key here so we can learn to live with them. Living in this state we have always lived side by side with wild animals and the people who have moved in here that aren't used to this need to learn how to respect and live around nature, instead of killing them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    With urbanization spreading like a cancer, wildlife has to adapt or perish. There are urban and suburban foxes in England han there are in the wild; and there are suburban wolves in Romania and two wolves have been seen in the streets of two Swedish towns.
    White.wolf_43, France

  5. Anonymous says:

    Look at it this way..Humans kill way more humans then they do, who should we really be afraid of?

  6. pilvikki says:

    bears strolling down the streets in small towns in ontario, coyotes in toronto, never mind suburbs...

    i very much doubt we'll see many wolves though, as they seem to have different ideas about what's acceptable to them.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I live where the coyotes live and we co-exhist with no problems. Pre-cautions and respect. Garbage cans are lidded, yard is fenced, although we do have a female visitor time to time at about 4am in the morning. She lays by the back slider for a few moments then she is on her way. I do not make contact with her, although I believe she knows I will not harm her. I have 4 dogs, none of them small and they are very aware of the coyotes, they have learned to howl along with them, and it is a beautiful song they sing, somewhat off tune at times... Which could be a lil eye opening at 2am! Long story short, we are over-populated as humans and for some reason...we think we can take over what the animals can not defend, and when they do...its a bad animal. So you see they will be with us, some humans wont be able to be with them. I love my wild animals...including but non limited to self :)

  8. Anonymous says:

    If anyone is worried about mountain lions. Just put a cardboard box in your yard and next thing you know. You'll have a really big housecat. Even big cats like boxes too. :-P

  9. Holy Dog says:

    to Lara Rae. we are animals ourselves; mammals to be exact, direct cousins to chimpanzees and gorillas.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The worst thing I've seen and heard of all too many times is that people think it is cool to feed coyotes. They are wild animals, and feeding them helps take away the fear they should have for humans, and also helps them overpopulate.

  11. Anonymous says:

    makes me wonder if some of the missing people were eaten

  12. Anonymous says:

    Lidé si berou stále víc ! Bereme zvířatům jejich přirozené prostředí ! A pak je jednoduše zabíjíme ! Moc smutné :((((

  13. Anonymous says:

    By expanding suburbs we are taking away their shelter. Is it really all that shocking that they are migrating into suburbs?

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