Predators In The East

With increasing frequency, suburban and in some cases even urban dwellers in the Northeast are getting a firsthand education about the perils of improper predator control. By far the most egregious situation exists in New Jersey, where potentially deadly run-ins with black bears seem to occur on a regular basis--a problem that would most certainly be less acute if hunts proposed in the past had not been canceled due to pressure from animal-rights groups. Coyotes have also caused their share of problems in the Northeast this year. Some highlights from this summer:

VERNON, N.J.: A black bear invaded a home occupied by a mother and her two children, ages 7 and 2, trapping them in a bedroom. Police and a state biologist killed the bear as it climbed out a window.

WEST MILFORD, N.J.: A man shot a black bear that was approaching the door to his kitchen. The wounded boar was later killed by wildlife officials, who found it about 400 yards from the house. Just a couple of weeks earlier, a West Milford man was mauled by a bear in his backyard after attempting to save his dog, which the bear had attacked.

SPARTA, N.J.: Police shot a 150-pound black bear that swatted a 2-year-old boy who was sitting on the front steps of his home.

WELLESLEY, MASS.: A coyote approached a mother and her two children in their backyard. As the woman picked up her baby, the coyote nipped the leg of her other child, a 2-year-old girl. This wasn't the first backyard invasion by a coyote. Days before this incident, a coyote in nearby Newton, Mass., charged into a yard where children were playing on a swing. It made off with a small stuffed animal.

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