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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our friend and Puma Scientist, John Laundre(affiliated with COUGAR REWILDING and SUNY OSWEGO) has just published a peer reviewed ground breaking article in Cambridge Journals(full article can be downloaded at the bottom of the abstract below) revealing conclusively that the Adirondack Park(NY) can support a Puma population ranging from 150-350 .................The Adirondack State Park in New York is larger than Yellowstone and has road and human densities similar to those in the Black Hills of South Dakota and in Southern Florida where breeding populations of Pumas carve out a living......John estimates that the Pumas would remove 10% of the deer roaming the Park and that the deer could recruit successfully with the "big Cats" on the ground enriching the ecosystem and carrying out their ecological services functions successfully..................The Adirondacks could be as biologically diverse as Yellowstone,,,,,,,,,,,,with a full complement of pre columbian predator and prey if the will of the people............and their politicians permit!

The feasibility of the north-eastern USA supporting
the return of the cougar Puma concolor
J O H N W . L A U N D R É

Abstract-- The cougar Puma concolor was part of the preEuropean fauna of the north-eastern USA. It was extirpatedin the late 1800s and since the late 1900s there have been
discussions concerning its reintroduction to the region.

 Onesite considered is Adirondack State Park in northernNew York. In 1981 an assessment of the feasibility ofreturning cougars concluded that the Park had adequateprey and forest cover to support a small population of
cougars but that conflicts with humans would cause the demise of this population within 10 years. Thus reintroduction at that time was not advised.

 Since then knowledge of cougar ecology and how cougars interact with humans has increased substantially. Based on information compiledsince the 1980s I conducted a landscape-scale analysis toassess whether cougars could live in the Park. The resultsindicate that cougars could occupy 15,300–17,000 km2
(61–69%) of the Park, with minimal contact with human habitation.

 Based on reported cougar densities, the Park could support a population of 150–350 cougars. These cougars would consume , 10% of the adult deer population annually and fawn production would be sufficient to replacethese losses. 

Human and road densities in the Park aresimilar to those of the Black Hills, South Dakota and southern Florida, both of which have viable populations ofcougars.

 I concluded that Adirondack State Park could support a population of cougars. What is now required is the
will to bring them back.

John Laundre

Here is the URL where the article can be downloaded and read in its entirety:


SUNY Oswego prof says Adirondack forest preserve could accommodate reintroduction of cougar

J. Michael Kelly/The Post-Standard
The following is a press release from SUNY OSWEGO
OSWEGO, N.Y. -- In an article published Jan. 8, SUNY Oswego biology faculty member Dr. John Laundre suggests that a forest preserve in the Adirondack Mountains can accommodate the reintroduction 150 to 350 cougars, challenging previous findings.
121404 Mountain Lion.JPG
In "The Feasibility of Northeastern U.S. Supporting the Return of Cougars," published in the international conservation journal Oryx, Laundre cites cougars' successful return to the urban interface of western cities and compares their recovery to similarly developed habitats in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Cypress National Preserve of southern Florida.

In proposing to return the cougar to the giant New York State Forest Preserve, Laundre in his paper provides an updated re-evaluation of a 1981 study by emeritus SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry biologist Rainer Brocke, who concluded that road density would hinder any chance of cougar recovery to the 6-million-acre Adirondacks.

"Thirty years ago everyone thought cougars needed to live in the most remote places," said Laundre, who studied the Western hemisphere's second largest cat for 20 years in Idaho and Mexico, "but they've demonstrated that they are as adaptable as coyotes." He cited the black bear's comeback in New Jersey as further evidence of the viability of this kind of re-introduction.

He emphasized that a small population of cougars safely co-exists in the Santa Monica Mountains of West Los Angeles north of Malibu. "There's even a young, radio-collared male running around LA's Griffith Park," he noted. "That's like taking up residence in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx."

Market hunting of prey like white-tailed deer nearly to extermination combined with state-sponsored predator bounty programs wiped out the cougar in the Adirondacks by the end of the 19th century. Laundre noted that white-tailed deer have recovered to super-saturation, critically threatening forest regeneration throughout the state, a pending ecosystem collapse highlighted in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's 2011 State Forest Management Plan.

Laundre's ecology research in Yellowstone after wolves were restored to the national park in 1995 was the first to identify how predator presence changes prey vigilance and browsing behavior.

"Cougars hunt at the edges of rivers and in forests that provide lots of cover," said the author of the 2012 book "Phantoms of the Prairie: The Return of Cougars to the Midwest." "Deer learn where they are in most danger from predators, which self-restricts where they feed; plants start coming back that the deer would normally just vacuum up."

His groundbreaking Yellowstone study and subsequent research found that "wolves and cougars are, in a sense, shepherds of these wild herds of deer, keeping them from overgrazing the forest."

Considering years of cougar predation studies, his Adirondack analysis suggests that cougars annually would take about 8 percent of the forest preserve's estimated 50,000 to 80,000 white-tailed deer, a number he called easily sustainable in conjunction with the current hunter harvest and wildlife management protocols.

"If 5,000 cougars can co-exist with 37 million people in California, then the cougar's ancestral home, our nation's first wilderness, the Adirondacks, can certainly support them," Laundre said.

A visiting instructor in SUNY Oswego's department of biological sciences and an expert in wildlife ecology and conservation, Laundre is vice president of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation.

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