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-   -   Once upon a cougar in the Adirondacks. (http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=16105)

redhawk 08-19-2011 08:29 AM

Once upon a cougar in the Adirondacks.
 
Enough of this talk about sightings.

What's the thought on what the effect will be IF it turned out there was a population or at the very least a mating pair in the Adirondacks?


What impact would it have on the environment, the whitetail population? Coyotes? Humans? Recreating in the Adirondacks (hunting, backpacking, camping, tourism)? What special measures would have to be put in place?
We have never discussed that here.

Hawk

Buster Bear 08-19-2011 09:25 AM

Start hiking with a Halloween mask on the back of our head...

ndru 08-19-2011 09:30 AM

at the very least i'd like to see a complete hunting ban on cougars in NY.

as far as human recreational activities? i don't know what would be done differently. do bear bags/canisters even make a difference to cougars? what do they do out west that we don't do here?

as for their impact on other species ( deer, coyotes, etc. ) these animals were here originally and co-existed just fine with the rest of the critters in the woods, i'm certain they'll work it out again w/o our interference.

Eastern Puma 08-19-2011 09:33 AM

If you see one in the Adirondacks? :dance: Jump up and down and whoop with joy! That's what I did the one time I saw a wild one in northwestern California.

Have any of you avoided visiting national parks and wilderness areas in the West because you were afraid of being attacked by a cougar?

adk 08-19-2011 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redhawk (Post 174405)
Enough of this talk about sightings.

What's the thought on what the effect will be IF it turned out there was a population or at the very least a mating pair in the Adirondacks?


What impact would it have on the environment, the whitetail population? Coyotes? Humans? Recreating in the Adirondacks (hunting, backpacking, camping, tourism)? What special measures would have to be put in place?
We have never discussed that here.

Hawk

Most people would hardly ever notice the difference even with a thriving viable breeding population of Puma. The "legend" and misinformation far out ways the reality IMO. (People wouldn't disappear in the night etc) Camping in Puma territory never once had me thinking I needed to look over my shoulder.

Nature on the other hand, would very much notice. It might help restore ecological balance as apex predators slightly reduce meso-predators spawning a slight uptick in birds and other prey items of the smaller omnivore/meso-predators. I actually just read a great article from the F&W about the exact subject.
All the way around, it would be a good thing. After all, it would be nice to one day actually see the "wild" in "forever wild" instead of the scarcity of wildlife in the Adirondacks many of us often post about. The only downside is likely from those afraid of "actual" wilderness environments and for whatever decide to carve up the forest and build in the Adirondacks.

wiiawiwb 08-19-2011 03:54 PM

It would be a fantastic thing to have an apex predator, like the cougar, back into the Adirondacks. It will help keep a more natural balance of wildlife.

If it were well known that cougars existed in the Adirondacks it might discourage the once-a-year, urban hiker. I don't think it would have any impact upon most, if not all, of us here in the way we approach our hiking/backpacking.

geogymn 08-19-2011 05:57 PM

When one heads into the woods he must be aware. If one is not aware things can go bad rather quickly. The deeper the woods the need for heighten awareness. The wilder the woods the need for the highest awareness. To stretch one limitations is truly living. I want to feel uncomfortable because of a new perceived threat in order to achieve a higher awareness.

"Comfort enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master. Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires." Kahlil Gibran

Old Rivers 08-20-2011 08:48 AM

What's my thought? This is exactly why ENCON had lied & covered up the facts until as a matter of fact" The cat came out of the bag" by DNA testing from Ct roadkill. They don't want to deal with the issue and frankly neither do I. I would simply apply the "3S" solution.

thebluesman5748 08-20-2011 10:51 AM

The Abundance of Predators...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by redhawk (Post 174405)
What's the thought on what the effect will be IF it turned out there was a population... or at the very least... a mating pair in the Adirondacks?

What impact would it have on the environment, the whitetail population? Coyotes? Humans? Recreation in the Adirondacks (hunting, backpacking, camping, tourism)? What special measures would have to be put in place?
We have never discussed that here.

Well, at first glance, I thought Hawk may be a little bored here with his inquiry. Perhaps the result of a mild case of summer doldrums here on the forum.... Whatever...!

Not at all familiar with "Puma Concolor Gouguar", I decided to do a little research and was quite taken with my findings on Mountain Lions, also known as Cougars, Panthers or Puma's.

There's not a lot of correlation between the link I've posted, and the impact of the Mountain Lion on the Adirondacks, per se. However, you will definitely find the article abundant with information completely relevant to Hawk's inquiry...

Reader beware: In the article there's a segment with documented Mountain Lion attacks on human's. The articles are quite detailed, and for the most part, involve children....

It's rather lengthy, but definitely well worth the read..... Enjoy

Bluesman

http://www.aws.vcn.com/mountain_lion_fact_sheet.html

Eastern Puma 08-22-2011 06:19 PM

If viable populations of cougars lived in NY, how many deer would they consume?
 
Bluesman,
Thanks for the document from the Abundant Wildlife Society. It will take me a while to digest it. It IS dated (1995).

Recently, Dr. John Laundre of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation shared some thoughts with us. With his permission, I'm passing it on:

Here are some interesting numbers regarding deer in New York:

Estimated number of deer: 1,000,000
Number of deer hunters: 620,000
Number of deer hunters kill/year 200,000
Number of deer a population of 1000 cougars would kill/year (based on 42 deer/cougar/year, which is high): 42,000
Percent hunter harvest is of total population: 20%
Percent cougar harvest is of total population: 4.2%
Percent cougar harvest is of hunter harvest: 21%

Fact: deer numbers continue to increase in the state so even killing 20% of them does not slow their growth, adding 4% more for lions will not tip the balance!

Conclusion: State of New York could have 1,000 cougars and it would not have an effect on deer numbers!

Are hunters so greedy as to not want to share even a small percent of the deer population for the health of ecosystems??

Food for thought.

My questions: Did God create ungulates for the sport hunters? Should our public lands be managed as game farms?

Eastern Puma 08-23-2011 06:42 AM

I should make it clear that the questions at the end of the previous post are my own, not Laundre's.

gulo 11-23-2011 09:44 AM

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/20...r-cougars.html

Pumpkin QAAD 11-23-2011 10:26 AM

The peak deer population was estimated at 1 million.

I don't think it's necessarily the greed of hunters, because trust me we'd love to shoot the cats too, but a combination of ignorance and public safety. As much as they look like cuddly kittens they are very powerful creatures and do have the ability to kill people. But if we lost 1 or 2 people to predation a decade is that signficant considering drunk driving, heart disease, etc.. But it is the decision that society has made to err on the side of fearing animals while stuffing the face with cheeseburgers and beer.

TCD 11-23-2011 12:21 PM

Very true! And while it's not a great set of choices, I would much rather go by cougar than by type 2 diabetes...

gulo 12-01-2011 08:03 PM

We received permission from ADK Explorer to post this

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=4913

John's ADK cougar habitat suitability study will soon be published here

http://journals.cambridge.org/action...ournal?jid=ORX

adk 12-01-2011 09:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gulo (Post 178704)
We received permission from ADK Explorer to post this

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=4913

John's ADK cougar habitat suitability study will soon be published here

http://journals.cambridge.org/action...ournal?jid=ORX


Great article and view point... I couldn't agree more...

Blackhawk 12-02-2011 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 178458)
The peak deer population was estimated at 1 million.

I don't think it's necessarily the greed of hunters, because trust me we'd love to shoot the cats too, but a combination of ignorance and public safety. As much as they look like cuddly kittens they are very powerful creatures and do have the ability to kill people. But if we lost 1 or 2 people to predation a decade is that signficant considering drunk driving, heart disease, etc.. But it is the decision that society has made to err on the side of fearing animals while stuffing the face with cheeseburgers and beer.

most humans quickly forget that it's statistically thousands of times more likely that you'll be attacked, injured, robbed or killed by one of your own subspecies (or their domestic dogs) than it is to be harmed by any of our large, wild or caged carnivores.

Gman 12-02-2011 05:49 PM

Were there ever many Cougars in the ADK's? While its excepted that Cougars were hunted to extinction in the Northeast for such an apex predator that could and would hunt humans you really do not hear much about them historically.

There is no way that the Cougar if present could have been hunted to extinction in Eastern Canada. It is too vast and too remote. Quebec and Ontario acknowledge there are probably breeding populations but nobody knows for certain and there is little stopping the Cougar population there from expanding. That may be happening but it ain't happening very fast. Maybe it just is not the right habitat. One thing is certain, the Adirondacks are a lot more like Eastern Canada than Florida or the Black Hills.

If they come back on there own fine but I don't think anyone should be thinking about re-introductions. A Cougar is not a Lynx. A Lynx should be far more adaptable to the ADK's and that did not turn out well.

rADK 12-13-2011 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackhawk (Post 178735)
most humans quickly forget that it's statistically thousands of times more likely that you'll be attacked, injured, robbed or killed by one of your own subspecies (or their domestic dogs) than it is to be harmed by any of our large, wild or caged carnivores.

You're also more likely to get killed crossing the road.

These statistics are very misleading. What virus am I more likely to die from, influenza or Ebola? The flu, by far, because it is so prevalent. The same goes for "chance of being killed by ______ vs mountain lions. Citing these figures without correcting for how many actual encounters there are is very misleading. Mountain lions are fairly rare yet attacks do still occur, it seems that, when encountered, an attack isn't as unlikely as it is when meeting other carnivores, a black bear for example.

Limekiln 12-13-2011 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eastern Puma (Post 174581)


Here are some interesting numbers regarding deer in New York:

Estimated number of deer: 1,000,000
Number of deer hunters: 620,000
Number of deer hunters kill/year 200,000
Number of deer a population of 1000 cougars would kill/year (based on 42 deer/cougar/year, which is high): 42,000
Percent hunter harvest is of total population: 20%
Percent cougar harvest is of total population: 4.2%
Percent cougar harvest is of hunter harvest: 21%

Fact: deer numbers continue to increase in the state so even killing 20% of them does not slow their growth, adding 4% more for lions will not tip the balance!

Conclusion: State of New York could have 1,000 cougars and it would not have an effect on deer numbers!

Are hunters so greedy as to not want to share even a small percent of the deer population for the health of ecosystems??

While those numbers may be factually accurate on a state wide basis, they are not relevant to this issue. If we are talking about introducing mountain lions to New York I assume the Adirondacks would be the only suitable habitat in the state. Deer populations in the Adirondacks are very low right now due to heavy coyote predation, hard winters, and poor habitat.

For your theory to be accurate mountain lions would need to be evenly dispersed over the entire state, which isn't feasible.

gulo 12-13-2011 09:48 PM

What isn't feasible?

Depending on who you talk to, there's between 60,000 - 100,000 whitetails in the Daks. 100 cougars would take 4,000 deer a year - barely a dent in the population.

The shaded areas show occupied cougar habitat in California (2/3 of the state), which supports about 5,000 cats (including the exurbs of every metropolitan area), the same area and human population as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia combined.

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/images/lion_map.png

East LA

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=4673

Northwest LA

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=4673

Bay Area

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=3824

Cougars are as adaptable as coyotes; smaller and stealthier than black bears (where NJ now has one of the densest populations in North America).

If NJ can support black bears, if the entire peninsula of Italy can support wolves, if CA can support 5,000 cougars, then why isn't almost all of NY State, which has a higher deer-density and way more cover than CA, feasible habitat for cougars?

Gman 12-14-2011 02:27 PM

In an earlier post I said I found it hard to believe given its size and remoteness that the cougar was extrapolated from Eastern Canada. I had a look why and discovered the cougar was mostly absent from the Canadian Shield. Human population densities and settlement in Eastern Canada away from the Shield mirror neighboring states so it is understandable why the last known cougar in Ontario was said to killed 100 years ago.

The geology, temperature, seasonal profiles and pre-European flora, fauna (even Aboriginal groups and population ) of most of the ADK's is near identical to the Canadian Shield 200-300 miles to the north. Maybe any cougars introduced would simply head to the neighboring Catskills and Alleghenies like there predecessors where the living is easier.

Pumpkin QAAD 12-14-2011 04:30 PM

They'd probably kill a lot of coyotes (would that offset deer consumption by coy). Im not opposed to trying to bring them back but realize this it is inevitable that a human will get killed. I'm ok with that but many people are not. When making the decision to create a population of 100 or 1000 cougars you must be 100% ok with that. Some of you will be but it will give a lot of powder to the anti argument.

My next question is what type of deer would the cougar eat. My own opinion is that coyote eat the weak and the young (that may also be slow or weak) and that isn't necesserily bad for the population but would cougar take whatever it wants instead of sort of this weeding out type of predation that a non-apex predator that is filling that role typically does.

I would worry more about the effects on grouse than deer.

geogymn 12-14-2011 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179263)
They'd probably kill a lot of coyotes (would that offset deer consumption by coy).

My own opinion is that coyote eat the weak and the young (that may also be slow or weak)

I would worry more about the effects on grouse than deer.

Cougars killing coyotes, that is a slant I haven't heard before!

Culling the herd...... When CWD rears its ugly head we will be breeding predators to help retard the demise of the herd.

redhawk 12-14-2011 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179263)
They'd probably kill a lot of coyotes (would that offset deer consumption by coy). Im not opposed to trying to bring them back but realize this it is inevitable that a human will get killed. I'm ok with that but many people are not. When making the decision to create a population of 100 or 1000 cougars you must be 100% ok with that. Some of you will be but it will give a lot of powder to the anti argument.

My next question is what type of deer would the cougar eat. My own opinion is that coyote eat the weak and the young (that may also be slow or weak) and that isn't necesserily bad for the population but would cougar take whatever it wants instead of sort of this weeding out type of predation that a non-apex predator that is filling that role typically does.

I would worry more about the effects on grouse than deer.

When is the last time anyone heard of a human killed by a cougar/Puma/Mountain lion/catamount?

And how many humans have been attacked in the last 111 years?

The Black Hills of South Dakota has a very high Cougar to human ration and there are hardly ever any "incidents"

Pumpkin QAAD 12-15-2011 02:34 AM

You can't equate the black hills to the Daks. The reason the ratio is so high is that there are very few people there. Granted mountain lion attacks are as common as great white attacks (or insert some other apex predator, wolves?) but they certainly are capable of killing people and they certainly do. Google the list there was one last year. I understand the desire to reintroduce them but let's not pretend they are harmless. Im not saying they are rabid human killers like the ferocious north jersey black bear, by any stretch, but it happens. You may think its an acceptable risk to having them back but others would disagree.

redhawk 12-15-2011 09:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pumpkin QAAD (Post 179284)
You can't equate the black hills to the Daks. The reason the ratio is so high is that there are very few people there. Granted mountain lion attacks are as common as great white attacks (or insert some other apex predator, wolves?) but they certainly are capable of killing people and they certainly do. Google the list there was one last year. I understand the desire to reintroduce them but let's not pretend they are harmless. Im not saying they are rabid human killers like the ferocious north jersey black bear, by any stretch, but it happens. You may think its an acceptable risk to having them back but others would disagree.

Actually there are a lot more people in the Black Hills area then there are in the Adirondacks. It's a very popular tourist area with all the attractions including Rushmore, Custer State park, Harney peak, Sylvan Lake, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave and the whole cluster of tourist trap towns. I beleive that the Black hills has the highest cougar to human ration in the US. Perhaps Gulo or Eastern Puma could verify the accuracy of that statement.

Buckshot 12-15-2011 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redhawk (Post 174405)
What's the thought on what the effect will be IF it turned out there was a population or at the very least a mating pair in the Adirondacks?

What impact would it have on the environment, the whitetail population? Coyotes? Humans? Recreating in the Adirondacks (hunting, backpacking, camping, tourism)? What special measures would have to be put in place?
We have never discussed that here.

I don't think any special measures would be put in place, and I doubt I would change my trip planning and hiking in any way until something happened and HAWK wrote a sticky about how to prepare/respond to lions in the park. :dance:

Pumpkin QAAD 12-15-2011 10:48 AM

I could've predicted your response verbatum, scary.

Which do you think is more likely (assuming Cougars in both locations), a cougar attack at the sturgis motorcycle festival in a town or on solo hikers along the NPT trail.

There are many more people that use the Adirondack park than the Black Hills. The nature of the use is very, very different. In the Black Hills people congregate at specific locations like Rushmore, whereas in the Daks the usage leans more to hiking / outdoors in small groups. Yes that happens in the Black Hills as well but that is not the primary attraction of tourists in the area. You said so yourself: tourist trap towns.

I know why you picked the Black Hills to start your argument, but there are other areas where there have been problems with the mountain lion populations such as California and Vancouver. It may be that the Black Hills are a better environment for that type of animal and the type of human activities being done than in say California.

I would definately agree with the argument that mountain lions do not perceive Humans (or livestock) as prey and attacks are extremely rare and a proactive management policy would even reduce the very rare incidents. I.E. sick or young lions being monitored. However, because it's working well in the Black Hills does not mean it will work as well in the Daks.

gulo 12-15-2011 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redhawk (Post 179288)
I beleive that the Black hills has the highest cougar to human ration in the US.

Can't recall seeing the ratio broken down this way, but it's certainly up there - for the time being (92 adult cats were killed this year in the Black Hills, p. 15 http://www.easterncougar.org/newltr_...fnew_May11.pdf).

Once SD is done with its 5-year cougar management plan, coupled with Wyoming deliberately creating a sink on their side of the border, cougars may be virtually exterminated from the Black Hills by 2015.

ADK violent crime incidents, for perspective; note that California has the lowest ratio of incidents - what a stable cougar population will do, patrol itself, without hunting

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=4478

Black bears vs cougars

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=4945

Most definitive analysis of cougar incidents to date; after spiking twice in the 90s, note that incidents have gone down in the last ten years

http://easterncougar.org/CougarNews/?p=4884

Most recent death by cougar in the US/Canada

http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/publ...altoslion.html


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