The Cougar Conundrum: Sharing the World with a Successful Predator
The relationship between humans and mountain lions has always been uneasy. A century ago, mountain lions were vilified as a threat to livestock and hunted to the verge of extinction. In recent years, this keystone predator has made a remarkable comeback, but today humans and mountain lions appear destined for a collision course. Its recovery has led to an unexpected conundrum: Do more mountain lions mean they're a threat to humans and domestic animals? Or, are mountain lions still in need of our help and protection as their habitat dwindles and they're forced into the edges and crevices of communities to survive? Mountain lion biologist and expert Mark Elbroch welcomes these tough questions. He dismisses long-held myths about mountain lions and uses groundbreaking science to uncover important new information about their social habits. Elbroch argues that humans and mountain lions can peacefully coexist in close proximity if we ignore uninformed hype and instead arm ourselves with knowledge and common sense. He walks us through the realities of human safety in the presence of mountain lions, livestock safety, competition with hunters for deer and elk, and threats to rare species, dispelling the paranoia with facts and logic. In the last few chapters, he touches on human impacts on mountain lions and the need for a sensible management strategy. The result, he argues, is a win-win for humans, mountain lions, and the ecosystems that depend on keystone predators to keep them in healthy balance. The Cougar Conundrum delivers a clear-eyed assessment of a modern wildlife challenge, offering practical advice for wildlife managers, conservationists, hunters, and those in the wildland-urban interface who share their habitat with large predators.
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