Jun 16, 2012

The Number of Cougars Would Be Up


Not only cougars are back in the forests of Canada and the United States, but their number is increasing, according to new research.

Cougars, also known as pumas, would be at the top of the food chain in the midwestern states and provinces of Western Canada, if their number had been declining since 1900.

In 1978, the cougar was endangered and there have only been a handful since observation of the feline, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

However, the researchers found evidence for 20 years that confirm the return of the animal.

Clay Nielsen, an assistant professor at the University Carbondale, Illinois, analyzed the data on confirmed sightings of cougar carcasses, tracks, photos, videos, and DNA evidence collected from 1990 to 2008 in 14 States and provinces across the U.S. Midwest.

With his assistant, Michelle LaRue, University of Minnesota, Mr. Nielsen has identified 178 cases of confirmed presence of a cougar and says this number is increasing.

“This paper provides quantitative information strongest to date on the recolonization potential of cougars in the Midwest, has supported Professor Nielsen. These results suggest that wildlife managers and the public could face an increased population of cougars in the near future. ”

Much of the Midwest lived without large carnivores such as cougars for over 100 years, he said.

The research results were published in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

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