The Cougar Conundrum: Sharing the World with a Successful Predator

Island Pr. Aug. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781610919982. pap. $30. NAT HIST
Ecologist Elbroch, leader scientist of the Puma Program for Panthera and author of books including Mammal Tracks & Sign, contends that the mountain lion, a keystone species found throughout North America, can coexist alongside humans. Research on mountain lions is scarce, but we know that they are both reclusive and adaptable. While accounts of mountain lions attacking humans receive considerable media attention, these occurrences are rare and could possibly be avoided through hunter education programs, Elbroch maintains. Increased numbers of mountain lions coupled with habitat loss means that there are more interactions between mountain lions and humans. Elbroch contends that through strategic decision-making involving all interested parties (wildlife enthusiasts, hunters, biologists, state agencies, the general public), wise policy can be enacted to ensure these majestic creatures are conserved while maintaining human safety. A case study on successful collaboration between disparate entities in Montana details a possible way forward.
VERDICT A concise account illustrating issues surrounding wildlife conservation efforts in the United States while providing an informative natural history of the mountain lion.
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