Author Mary Roach joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to talk about her latest book, Fuzz, which delves into the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology. The book is organized according to the human laws which are routinely violated by so-called nuisance animals, who are just being animals, Roach explained. "The solutions rarely lie in changing the behavior of the animal — it's mostly gets down to changing the behavior or outlook of the human, and a lot of times humans create the problem in the first place," she said.
Roach covered animals that kill humans, noting that in the United States venomous snakes and dogs actually cause more deaths per year than bears or mountain lions. Between zero and three people are killed by bears every year, and a decade may go by before a fatal mountain lion attack, she revealed. Communities where there is 80 percent compliance with rules designed to keep bears away from populated areas have much less reports of bear intrusion, Roach reported. "Just don't leave something out that they want," she added.
At least 500 people a year in India are killed in human-elephant conflicts, Roach continued. To combat the problem elephant response teams have been formed to reroute elephants that are heading toward villages or farms. "The best thing would be to not build roadways and installations and housing developments blocking these animals," she suggested. Roach also described man-eating leopards in the region of the Himalaya. She shared the account of an elderly man who was waiting at a bus shelter when was taken by a leopard. "These are cats that are intentionally stalking and killing people as prey to eat... that's a scary thing," Roach said.
Roswell & Dark Skies
In the first hour, author M.L. Behrman related aspects of the Roswell incident to his own bizarre desert experience. Followed by screenwriter and producer Bryce Zabel, who commented on the 25th anniversary of his Dark Skies television show, as well as the 60th anniversary of the landmark Betty and Barney Hill abduction case.