America’s Relationship with the Wild Cougar

Today, at present, the Cougar is more likely to wander into urban areas in America because there are more urban areas and the human settlements are in places which are included in the distribution of the Cougar. The Cougar was their first and the humans moved in.

If the US cougar loses its fear of people – kill it! Is this some sort of power struggle going on?

The trouble is that when a cougar wanders into an urban area which is part of his territory they are said to lose their fear of people. The basic rule in America in respect of the cougar is that if the cat loses its fear of people then you kill it, no questions asked. There is no other method, no plan B or C. Is this a fair way to treat this iconic wild cat species that is emblematic of the wild open spaces of America?

cougar in urban area trapped and killed (euthanised)

Photo credit: I can’t find one! Sorry.

Here is an example. In NE Portland, Oregon a cougar was spotted in a tall cedar tree in an urban area. The cat was tranquillised and caged. I can’t see the point of doing that if at the end of it you kill the cat which is what happened – they call it “euthanasia” but it is not, it is killing. Perhaps someone decided that they couldn’t be bothered to transport the cat to another area because they reasoned that the cat had become habituated to being around people and therefore was an inherent danger to people so even if moved to a wild place the Cougar would enter another urban area whereupon the authorities would have to kill it anyway.  So why bother?

“The cougar was euthanized because it had lost its fear of people,” explained Kenagy (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman). “They’re territorial so it would likely be pushed out of any new forest area and would move into another urban area.”

The cougar was spotted in the tree on Friday.  People screamed and ran into their houses.  Poor cougar having to watch humans scurrying around screaming.  The cat was probably as frightened as the people! The two species don’t really get along that well do they? I am not sure people should be that scared. They should be more scared of domestic dogs because they are 10 times more likely to kill a person than a mountain lion. Is the response to the presence of a cougar proportionate to its danger to people?

The police asked everybody to stay indoors until they had got rid of the cougar. Is there a better way of dealing with this sort of incident? Perhaps, if everybody had stayed indoors long enough it would come down from the tree and wandered off into the wild. However, perhaps not, but might that have been a better resolution to this predicament?

Isn’t there a place in America that is so wild to which a cougar could be transported so that there was very little chance of the cat returning to an urban areas? There might be. There probably is, but then there is the expense of transporting the cat to that area and clearly that sort of operation is deemed financially unviable by the authorities. Much cheaper to kill it. Not a great relationship between the people and the cat is it? For me it is so very wrong and symptomatic of our flawed relationship with nature.

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America’s Relationship with the Wild Cougar — 2 Comments

  1. If WE stopped messing with the habitat of these cats, perhaps things would be a lot different. We impose upon THEIR territories, making it impossible for them to hunt naturally. It is the fault of the human species, certainly not the fault of these cats- bears, wolves, coyotes, etc. It just breaks my heart, and WE are the ones to blame.

    But of course, people blame the animals. What is this country coming to anyway?

  2. They should be relocated. Just because it shows up in a human populated area does not mean it has lost the fear of people.Killing to appease humans is uncalled for when other solutions exist.

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