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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, April 7, 2015

Alberta, Canada Wildlife Officials believe that their Puma population has tripled over the past two decades from 680 to 2050 "Cats".............If that estimate is correct, about 10% of the animals are killed yearly via hunting, wildlife services, trapping and car hits .............Whether due to altered habitat, prey living close into human civilzation or the persecution of them via hunting and trapping, more and more Pumas are being seen around housing developments.........We know via the Washington State Large Carnivore Lab that a persecuted Puma population will end up with many more juvenile male "cats" than one where no hunting is allowed...........When this happens, the adolescent males come into territories and end up taking many more chances around humans than more mature males would take................The Lab has cited how California where Pumas cannot be hunted has far fewer human conflicts than neighboring Washington State and Oregon, where Pumas are hunted hard...............I believe that the Province of Alberta is on a Washington/Oregon paradigm that if not course corrected, will see even more Puma/human conflicts in the years ahead

Encounters with cougars on the rise across Alberta

File photo of a cougar scavenging for food around Canmore.
Courtesy: Glenn Naylor/Alberta Parks / Calgary Herald

CANMORE — As cougars spread out across Alberta, wildlife officials say they are noticing a steady rise in conflict between the big cats and people living in cities, towns and on private land throughout the province.

The provincial government introduced an annual hunt in 2012 as part of a management plan after there were an estimated 2,050 cougars across Alberta — up from about 680 twenty years earlier.
A total of 237 cougars died between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, with 139 killed during the hunt; 55 caught in traps or killed by vehicles; and, another 43 dealt with as problem wildlife or by landowners — according to the latest statistics available.
Still, wildlife officials said the interactions between cougars and people are steadily increasing as the animals search for food.
“Complaints are going up and that’s primarily because cougars are moving into more developed areas and having more interaction with people,” Jay Honeyman, a human wildlife conflict biologist with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, said during a WildSmart talk on cougars in Canmore earlier this week.
The interactions are happening across the province.
“Cougar occurrences go all the way out to Saskatchewan and are moving quite a ways north from where that core habitat was, so cougars are on the move,” said Honeyman. “There also is a bit of a shift provincially … where cougars are becoming more used to people.
“As a result, we’re starting to see a little bit of activity to occur during the daytime.”
Last September, a cougar wandered near a southeast Calgary hospital early one morning. It laid in the grass for several hours before Fish and Wildlife officers shot and killed the animal. The incident sparked criticism by city residents and animal lovers, but a review cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.
Calgary police and firefighters search for a cougar at the South Calgary Health Campus on Thursday, Sept 18, 2014 in Calgary.
Calgary police and firefighters search for a cougar at the South Calgary Health Campus on Sept 18, 2014 in Calgary.
Mike Ridewood / The Canadian Press
There have been issues along the province’s eastern boundary in Cypress Hills, where cougars have settled due to a high elk and deer population.
Towns such as Canmore and Sundre have also had problems with cougars this past winter after they wandered into residential areas. In both cases, wildlife officials warned townsfolk not to feed other wildlife such as rabbits, deer and elk.
A file photo of a Canmore cougar scavenging  for food.
A file photo of a Canmore cougar scavenging for food.
Courtesy: Glenn Naylor/Alberta Parks
“The cougar is an opportunist when looking for food,” said Glenn Naylor, a district conservation officer with Alberta Parks. “They also can be classified as an ambush predator. They make their living by ambushing their prey and getting it by surprise because they don’t want to get hurt.
“When I say opportunist, they will take whatever is available at the time they are hungry.”
Cougars are still elusive so it’s extremely rare they’ll attack a person — with 27 attacks and seven deaths reported across Canada in 100 years. Alberta’s only documented cougar death was Frances Frost in Banff National Park in 2001.
In Canmore, where the last major incident took place in December 2013 when two cougars were shot after killing two pet dogs, the number of interactions totalled about 63 that year. Of those, about 11 were considered high concern — where a cougar was feeding on food in developed areas, predating on domestic animals and coming close to people.
There were 11 interactions in total in 2001, according to the stats.
A look at conflict incidents in the Bow Valley in the past decade.
A look at conflict incidents in the Bow Valley from 2000 to 2013.
Courtesy: Jay Honeyman/Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
“Some of the ebbs and flows can be related to individual cougars who become used to hanging around the town,” said Honeyman, noting there had been a couple of young cougars hanging around Canmore in the past couple of years.
Cougar incidents appear to spike in the winter, but he noted there are also sightings reported in the middle of summer.
“It’s primarily conflict in the town,” he said, noting cougars go into town to predate on wildlife such as deer and rabbits but will also kill dogs and cats.
Honeyman said one of the best ways to prevent cougars from heading into town is not to put out feed for deer and elk.
Officials also recommended being aware of your surroundings, keeping children close and dogs on a leash, and carrying bear spray or a walking stick to fend off the big cats.

Cougar 101:
How big?
A male cougar can be between 1.6 and 2.5 meters long (5.5 to 8.5 feet), including the tail. It can weigh between 56 and 64 kilograms (125-140 pounds, but they can get up to 200 pounds). A female cougar is a bit smaller than a male.
How fast?
A cougar can leap 18 meters (60 feet) in two bounds. They can also jump up to five meters (18 feet) high. They can sprint up to 56 km/hr.
How long do they live?
Cougars live between 13 to 15 years.
How many kittens in a litter?
The largest litter ever recorded was six kittens. The gestation period is 80 to 96 days. Female cougars are monogamous, but males are polygamous. They can breed year round, although it’s more common in winter and early spring. Kittens stay with their mother for 12 to 19 months. The father plays no role in raising the kittens.
Source: Glenn Naylor/Alberta Parks

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