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 president of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, would have us believe that the simple act of reintroducing an apex predator would have some miraculous beneficial effect on the forests. He fails to explain the mechanism of that beneficial effect when, according to his own claim, cougars wouldn’t even make a dent in the deer herd that he says is preventing forest regeneration. It seems to me that over the past 100-150 years or so, man has effectively assumed the role of apex predator with the extirpation of the wolf and mountain lion. To think that we can reintroduce new apex predators into the equation without consequences to the culture and recreation-based economy, including deer hunting, that exists today is shortsighted and ignores the long-standing status quo.
Rex Trobridge, Newcomb