Cougar Kills Livestock? Protect The Livestock!

If a large wild cat species is killing a farmer’s livestock there are basically two ways that the farmer can deal with the situation. He can kill the cat or protect his livestock¹. The choice that he makes depends on (a) the law – is there is a law concerning this particular matter? — and (b) whether he respects the cat and wishes to conserve the cat in a world that, in general, is gradually, bit by bit, eradicating the wildcats species from the planet. Farmers are businessmen. They themselves survive through the existence of their livestock. A farmer is unlikely to automatically improve the protection of his livestock which will cost considerably more than shooting the cat. It is about money again.

As I understand it, on a state-by-state basis, in the United States there are regulations and there is legislation which allows farmers, on occasions and under certain circumstances, to shoot a cougar if the cat is attacking his livestock. Perhaps somebody would be kind enough to add some detail to that?

I believe, as I surely would, that the better and fairer solution is for farmers in the United States to find ways to better protect their livestock rather than shooting the cougar. Why should the farmer do this? The answer is simple: conservation. If he needs financial assistance he should receive it from government funds. I am sure there are places where this happens. But how commonplace is it?

Snow Leopard – Protecting Livestock

Happily, there are places in the world where farmers are encouraged to step up the protection of their livestock when a large wild cat is killing it. The snow leopard occupies large areas generally to the north of India and in several countries. The Snow Leopard Trust are involved, once again, in clever cat conservation. In northern India, many snow leopards have lost their lives after they have entered livestock pens.

The snow leopard, like the cougar, can enter a livestock pen and kill more livestock than he can eat. Apparently, a few years ago a snow leopard worked its way into a livestock pen and killed 50 goats in one night. In retaliation, the villagers cornered and killed the cat.

The Snow Leopard Trust worked with herders to create livestock pens that protected livestock from the snow leopard. The International Foundation provided a grant. In August of 2013, ten livestock enclosures were completed in the Rong Valley (Jammu-Kashmir) to protect more than 1,600 animals.

In the Miru Valley a total of 6 enclosures were constructed which protect 500 livestock. And exactly how did the herders modify their enclosures so that the goats were protected? They used chicken wire and a bit of elbow grease!

The chicken wire was suspended across the walls of the enclosure thereby preventing the snow leopard from jumping into it. One of the laudable aspects of snow leopard conservation is that a lot of effort goes into ensuring that local villagers and farmers are fully involved in the conservation of this beautiful wild cat species. You can’t achieve anything without the involvement and commitment of local people.

Cougar (Puma) – Eugene USA

Now I’d like to look at an alternative method of protecting livestock, chosen at random from the Internet. I searched for 3 mins (genuinely). The story comes from Eugene in Oregon, USA. The date? March 18, 2014. This is current. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that it had trapped and killed a second cougar preying on livestock near a Eugene park. The cougar that they had trapped was euthanised. The first cougar was a female. She was shot through the head. They were still searching for a third cougar. The trap had been set.

The reason for the destruction of three cougars was that goats and chickens living near the park were being taken by cougars. According to state law the remains of the cougars go to the resident who incurred the livestock losses. Apparently the person who has the right to the carcasses plans to turn the hides into a blanket.

I do not think I need to say much more or comment on which is the better method.

  1. Note: he might follow a middle course

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Cougar Kills Livestock? Protect The Livestock! — 7 Comments

  1. I’m not the best one here to respond to this topic, because I am always on the side of a cat. I’m not objective.
    Nature is nature and cats are predators. They’re just trying to survive.
    I realize that livestock may be the only source of income to some (but, really, aren’t farms pretty scarce today?), so those people need to take the necessary precautions to protect their animals to the extent that I try to protect mine.
    It is my obligation to protect without causing harm. I get angry with raccoons that hinder my efforts or attack my cats and harm or kill them; but I have a duty to find a way to make everything work for the best interest of all.

    • You know me, I’m always on the side of the cat but I do recognise the need for farmers to make a decent living. There has to be a balance between conservation and profitable farming and as far as I am concerned that is best achieved by focusing more on protecting livestock rather than simply killing the animals that kill the livestock. Some of the burden of dealing with this matter should be on the shoulders of farmers. To kill cougars just because they kill livestock is a very easy and convenient option but it is unfair because the farmers moved into the habitat of the cougar. The farmer owes it to the cougar to at least do his best to try and live in harmony with them.

  2. Like Dee I’m always on the side of the cat. I think farmers should understand Nature and how she works and that it’s their duty to protect their livestock.
    It actually makes me sick that they moan about hungry wild animals killing their animals when that’s just what they intend to do themselves, kill them for food for meat eaters and be paid for killing them.

    • Farmers don’t do enough with respect to wildlife conservation, in my opinion. They just might not be intelligent enough to think about it. I do not know, but to simply shoot the cougar is not right because as I mentioned the farmer moved into the land where the cougar lives and has lived for hundreds of thousands of years (well before the human turned up) so what does he expect? The farmers are farming on land occupied by the cougar. The farmer therefore owes it to the cougar to do more to try and live in harmony with the cat.

  3. I agree farmers dont do enough. The Snow Leopard trust really sounds special in how they deal with everything. The question of involving locals is majorly important I would assume.

    • Having encountered many cat charities through their websites, my feeling is that the Snow Leopard Trust is one of the very best because they use imaginative ways to resolve a very difficult problem, namely to find a balance between the farmers who need to earn a precarious living and the Snow Leopard that has a right to a life in these beautiful high places in the Himalayas and surrounding areas. Once again it is people who have expanded their activities onto the ranges and habitat of a wild cat species and under those circumstances the people have a moral obligation and an obligation to the planet to find a solution. So the whole problem has to be resolved by the people who share the same space as the cat. The snow Leopard Trust focus on motivating local people to work with them and provide solutions to find this balance.

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