A story in this week's Sports Illustrated discusses the decline of hunting and ties it to the surge in animal populations. It uses the example of a man in Canada who was killed by a pack of wolves in 2005; no human had been killed by a wolf in at least 100 years, according to the report. The article indicates that as herbivores spread (deer, for example), predators will spread also--hence coyotes on Sunset Boulevard and in Chicago's Loop, and a cougar on the North Side of Chicago for that matter. Even the black bear on the golf course in Colorado is part of the phenomenon.
As noted previously in this blog, Americans are generally spending much less time outdoors. As sprawl encroaches on habitat, more animals will become comfortable raiding Dumpsters and bird feeders. And the few people who still venture outside might be more susceptible to scary animal encounters.
(I happened upon an alley rabbit in our patio the other evening, for example.)