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July, 2014

Cougars present in Champlain Valley


I must take umbrage with your article “Keeping track of cougars” [March/April, 2014]. In it Rainer Brocke is quoted as saying the Adirondacks are a “pipsqueak park” with too few deer and too many roads for cougars to survive. The Champlain Valley is alive with deer. Just take a drive around the back roads and check it out. And in the past two years we have repeatedly sighted big cats near Lake Champlain, and none has been road kill. Many have left their tracks as proof. Bob Spring, Crown Point

January, 2014

Looking For Cougars In The Adirondacks


Last week, the organization, PROTECT the Adirondacks, announced that they plan to begin a program, entitled Cougar Watch, for developing a database of Mountain Lion sightings in and around the Park. For years, many reputable individuals have claimed to have glimpsed this large member of the cat family, which has led some people to wonder whether a small population of these highly adaptable predators currently exists within the boundaries of the Blue Line.  With all the sightings entered into a publicly accessible database, it might be easier to draw some conclusions regarding the status of this reclusive feline in northern >>More

January, 2013

Ecological case for cougars

In his review of John Laundre’s book Phantoms of the Prairie [November/December 2012] Philip Terrie writes that, “In the grand scheme of things there’s nothing that makes a polar bear more significant than a garter snake, a Bengal tiger more worthy of our attention than a chickadee.” But over the last few decades a large body of scientific work has shown that big predators like wolves and cougars are crucial to the healthy functioning of ecosystems, from the Great Plains to the African savanna. In order to overcome public resistance to the idea of reintroducing cougars in the Northeast, advocates need to >>More

September, 2011

Cougars are here; protect them

A recent Viewpoint [July/August 2011] alleged that cougars could not survive today in the Adirondack Park primarily because of the road density here. Yet cougars today have a permanent presence in the suburbs of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Denver, seemingly oblivious to road-density factors many times that in the Adirondacks. My position and that of many others is that cougars are currently present in the Adirondack Park. I feel that the population is sparse and includes the feline originally present with the addition of released captives and wanderers from western and northern populations. Sightings throughout the twentieth century plus the occasional individual cat being >>More

September, 2011

Reintroducing cougars would be folly

Two recent letters to the editor, one from a writer in Rosendale and the second from a writer in California, urge the reintroduction of cougars into the Adirondacks, one claiming that it would “help forests” and the second apparently positing that it’s a good idea simply because “cougars and people can coexist” and that “conflicts with humans are very rare.” Your readers might wish to Google “cougar attacks on humans” for multiple sources documenting cougar attacks, including some fatal ones. While attacks on humans are indeed relatively infrequent, they should not be passed over lightly. The individual from Rosendale, identified as >>More

July, 2011

Restoring cougars would help forests

One need look no further than the Department of Environmental Conservation’s 2010 Strategic Plan for Forest Management to find the rationale to restore cougars to the Adirondacks. The plan details the destructive impacts and biodiversity loss of New York’s forests from superabundant white-tailed deer, a herd now estimated at more than one million. Throughout much of New York, forest regeneration is in full arrest. Step into your nearest woodlot, state park, or forest. Notice the deer browse-line five feet high, the absence of seedlings and saplings, the carpets of deer-resistant ferns and invasive plants. Estimates of the Adirondacks’ whitetail herd >>More

July, 2011

Cougars and people can coexist

Mountain lions have permanent populations in a majority of the land area of California—pretty much anywhere there are scrub or trees and deer. The Santa Monica Mountains, which are in large part in Los Angeles, have a population of twenty-plus lions and growing. Conflicts with humans are very rare. These lions are not transients. They live here, breed here, and coexist with humans here. We just never see them. The road density here is far greater than in any part of the Adirondacks. The Santa Monicas are cut up by canyon roads every five miles or so and come alive every >>More

April, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights

Cougar Diet: Surviving The Pleistocene Extinction Nat Geo: ‘Global Warming Pause’ Science Rachel Carson: 50 Years Later Woods and Waterways: The Week in Wildflowers Fierce Green Fire: Environmental History Doc War of 1812: NY History Journal Issue 4-20: Grass Grew in North Country Streets Everest: Local Climber Reacts to Sherpa Boycott Northville: National Historical Recognition Black Flies: BTI Applicator Profile On Friday afternoons Adirondack Almanack compiles » Continue Reading. The post This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights appeared first on The Adirondack Almanack.

March, 2014

Park Perspectives: Reading nature’s tales


HERE’S SOMETHING you learn early on if you’re walking through the woods with Peter O’Shea: let him go first. Peter has the eyes of a man who has spent decades peering at the ground, reading the stories of the animals that have left signs there, taking account of the habitat, the type of vegetation, or the nearness of water. You could deprive yourself of a special learning experience if you block that vision or tramp over wildlife tracks before they reveal their secrets. My colleague Sue Bibeau and I were happy to follow Peter through eight inches of fresh snow >>More

January, 2014

PROTECT Launches New Cougar Watch Project


Protect the Adirondacks has launched a new project Cougar Watch to record public sightings of cougars (Puma concolor) in and around the Adirondack Park. There are regular reports of cougar sightings throughout the Adirondacks, but there has not been a publicly available repository to record these sightings. PROTECT will work to organize and map these reports and provide regular updates. The purpose of the Cougar Watch project is two-fold. First, there continue to be regular reports of cougars across the Adirondacks. Jerry Jenkin’s Adirondack Atlas features a map of cougar sightings on page 51. PROTECT will manage a database about >>More

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