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Too Many Deer on the Road? Let Cougars Return, Study Says

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Andrew_NZP, 19 Jul 2016.

  1. Andrew_NZP

    Andrew_NZP Well-Known Member

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    Maryland, USA
    Too Many Deer on the Road? Let Cougars Return, Study Says


    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/s...dy-says.html?smid=tw-nytimesscience&smtyp=cur
     
  2. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    England
    Whilst I broadly support reintroduction of lost species to air restoring balances in unbalanced systems its also interesting to note that in most situations prey controls predator population more than predators control prey population (as shown in the extreme with the snowshoe hare and lynx populations in regions where lynx hunt almost exclusively the hare).

    To my mind population increase and high road collissions suggests a few things to consider in addition;
    1) Population increase of deer - population increase suggests increased food provision and potentially increased territory access. Both factors to consider in how they are impacting deer populations. It would be key to note those sources otherwise cougars might only moderate populations and not result in an actual effective decrease if food and land continue to be abundant (esp if cougars don't result in habitat and behavioural changes of the deer that push them away from the abundant food sources).

    2) land access/fear. Are the deer growing more bold and gaining access to new resources outside of where they normally would; further would cougars encourage deer away from those areas to toward them - esp if those areas are human linked since potential threat of deer is mostly financial whilst threat of cougars is seen more as life-threatening (thus protective measures might well create those zones as havens for deer to avoid cougar predation).



    It's a difficult thing though, as convincing people to accept renewed danger in their environment and competition goes against all most societies aim for and indeed what most basic instinct calls for; esp in a sedentary species (which we currently are, more or less).
    Even introducing species that are not considered a danger to human life can have huge problems getting a foothold again within an environment where they are seen to be competing for resources or impacting on incomes earned (which often is the greatest problem - at least in the UK many species have trouble getting re-established without full support of the hunting/farming/fishing/game sector who are often those financially hit by predation or habitat changes).