Reintroducing cougars to Eastern North America

Canada
July 6, 2016 4:28am CST
A few days ago a friend of mine spotted a cougar crossing the main road about halfway between Sackville and Cap Pele. They have a huge territory and we live where this cat likely roams. Cougar sightings are rare in northeastern North America but are increasing. Some people think this is wonderful news because they were thought hunted to extinction in this part of the world more than a hundred years ago. The truth is that in Canada at least they have quietly been given a hand by the Canadian government without public consultation. In Eastern Ontario the government denied sighting and their involvement for years. At one point they finally admitted that they'd released some into the wild in that area. I know that this is what happened here in New Brunswick as well. Here's the discussion question. Do you think reintroducing such a powerful predator is really a good idea? Especially considering there isn't anyone who keeps livestock in the area who would support such a move.
7 people like this
7 responses
@JolietJake (34022)
• Olney, Illinois
6 Jul 16
Here kitty kitty kitty...oh my...what big teeth you have Well, I'd take the view that the cougars were here first, and if yer livestock herd is getting thinned out by them, you need to build higher fences or some such crap. Sure, I'd be pissed if I lost the occasional sheep or whatever, but manure occurs. Hunting them down for doing what cougars do...eating...is just another version of Man trying to play God and rule his kingdom. Unless someone catches the cougar stalking human prey, just leave 'em be. If nothing else, petition the Government for restitution for the loss. But that's just me...I like big cats.
3 people like this
@JolietJake (34022)
• Olney, Illinois
6 Jul 16
@koopharper I agree somewhat. My disagreement stems from the original mindset of hunting cougars just because they are cougars.
2 people like this
• Canada
6 Jul 16
@JolietJake I disagree with hunting cougars just because they are cougars. I've just seen the reintroduction of a smaller predator go really bad. Fishers were reintroduced to eastern Canada not mainly just to return them to a place they no longer existed. The idea was to have them naturally control the raccoon and porcupine populations. They have made a small difference in that regard but have become a difficult to deal with nuisance varmint in their own right. They can chew through things you never thought possible.
2 people like this
@JolietJake (34022)
• Olney, Illinois
6 Jul 16
@koopharper I didn't refer to your mindset, of course, but rather the larger public view that created the original decline. It's really too bad that cougars have such a large territorial area...makes it impossible to 'confine' them to an area reserved as a refuge...
1 person likes this
@Platespinner (15499)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
6 Jul 16
Government conservation policies seem to create far more problems then they solve at the best of times.
3 people like this
• Canada
6 Jul 16
I just wish they were more open about it. The whole thing looks like somebody's pet project and not a whole lot of thought went into it. My experience with government is that when they take the time to study something thoroughly, it means they don't plan to do anything at all. It's just a stalling tactic. If someone in government wants to do something, it gets done without the studying.
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
6 Jul 16
@koopharper In other words they don't do what really needs to be done, but are quick to to leap before looking if it makes the right person happy.
3 people like this
• Canada
7 Jul 16
@Platespinner Pretty much.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (88027)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Jul 16
You would have to wonder about the sense of this. Sometimes it's best to let things be. Maybe the reason they disappeared from the area is because they were decimating domestic livestock.
3 people like this
• Canada
6 Jul 16
That's exactly why they were hunted to extinction. I'm sure the owner of the feedlot down the road is incensed over this. I don't think that hunting them down like what was done was right don't get me wrong. They haven't been a part of this Eco-system for quite a long time. Besides their natural prey, white-tailed deer, have been on the decline before the reintroduction.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (88027)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Jul 16
@koopharper Times change. If their natural prey has largely disappeared there seems nothing to gain and much to lose by their reintroduction.
3 people like this
• Canada
6 Jul 16
@JudyEv My worry is that their competition for prey had changed. Not sure how they will adapt.
2 people like this
@JohnRoberts (32422)
• Los Angeles, California
6 Jul 16
There is always a problem when the government starts messing to "re-balance." In the US, wolves were re-introduced into certain areas and protected and now they are running amuck not just killing livestock but breeding out of control with no checks.
3 people like this
• Canada
6 Jul 16
This is why I don't trust government to do this sort of thing in an intelligent manner. This wouldn't be the first time this didn't turn out right.
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
7 Jul 16
Even if there were livestock in the area to feed these types of animals, the owners of those cattle wouldn't like it if their funds were eaten up at will. No, I don't think it's a good idea to bring them back. If they never were pushed out it would be one things, but you'd have to build an awful high fence to ensure they didn't jump over into your yard from one of the surrounding trees, I'd think. We have coyotes on the outskirts of town, but I've not heard how many there are or whether the townspeople have problems with them at all. I think they may be as afraid of the residents as the people would be of them, but the larger animals probably aren't afraid of anyone or anything.
2 people like this
• Canada
7 Jul 16
Cougars can leap 18 feet straight up. They can jump down from a height of sixty feet without getting hurt. Can any farmer afford the necessary fence? They reportedly can leap across a forty foot ditch. Cougars are extraordinary predators. They have no natural enemies.
2 people like this
@skysnap (17562)
6 Jul 16
I think it all depends on those who studied this predator. They may provide insight
2 people like this
• Canada
6 Jul 16
I don't trust the government experts who studied this. This animal is dangerous in a surprise confrontation. Hiding something like this from the public, I think is irresponsible.
2 people like this
@snowy22315 (28181)
• United States
30 Nov
I don't really think it is a great idea. They became basically extinct in the East for a reason.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Dec
I think what bothers me the most is government denying they did it for so long. This is a democracy and I think we should have some say in decisions like this.