Don't tell the Immigration authorities, but Postville, Iowa -- the site of a recent raid
by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- may be hosting a few other undocumented visitors. There is reason to believe that black bears may be in the area ... and they “have no legal status in Iowa" according to the state's Department of Natural Resources (DNR). I assume this is because the governor’s office is hesitant to grant them the full rights of citizenship. After all, they have indicated a reluctance to learn English, the official state language.
According to one news report, Iowa Bear Sightings Begin to Add Up, “There have been 11 reported sightings of a bear along Mudd Creek on the southern edge of North Liberty over the past two days.”
Another account, from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, tells of a single sighting and includes observations from DNR spokesman Joe Wilkinson about it. “If it was wild,” the article noted, “Wilkinson said the bear was likely a black bear, which once were native to Iowa. He said the bear could have wandered down from Wisconsin or Minnesota, adding bears have been spotted in Allamakee, Postville and near Dubuque.”
Bears in Iowa! Could it be true? Iowa ... the state noted more for endless fields of corn and soybeans than it's wilderness areas? But then again, Allamakee County, home to Postville, does boast of it's natural setting. And bears have been here before!
According to a 2007 DNR report, “Most present-day Iowans probably associate black bears with some of our large national parks and do not realize that they once occurred in Iowa.”
How true! Who knew that my dream of sighting a real live bear was so close!
The report continues, “When the settlers reached Iowa, they found [bears] widespread throughout the state ... Bears were killed because they would damage crops, harass and kill livestock, and because they were valuable both as food and for their hides.
“Currently, the nearest established wild populations of black bears are in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and southern Missouri. These populations are expanding their range towards Iowa from both the north and south.”
Hmmm! It seems that yesterday's skepticism was ill-founded. How is it that I so easily dismiss the possibilities in my own backyard while casting my gaze into the distance? Why do I overlook history when accepting status quo? Certainly reality is transitory. So don't let me tell you that I'm a realist: I still see what I expect to see! And now I expect to see bears ... in Iowa!