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Old 08-10-2008, 12:17 AM   #1
Sasquatch
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Mountain Lions... the TRUTH!!!!

I was talking to a few people the other day about the great debate as to whether or not there were mountain lions in the Adirondacks. The conversation included someone who is in public office, which I will not say, but I figure the reasoning this person gives, well, they would know. So, here is the story on the ADK Lions....

...they are there, they are few, but they are breeding. The DEC says that there are cases of mistaken identity whenever they can. When they can't because of physical evidence, they claim they are pets that have been set loose. They will continue to stick to this line no matter what. The reason. If the DEC admits there is a wild population of lions, the FEDERAL government gets involved under the Endangered Species Act. We could see all kinds of FEDERAL rules, regulations and other idiocy . So, the DECs idea is to deny, deny, deny. That way, they keep the feds from coming in and causing all kinds of mayhem through their omnipresent idoicy, the lions stay protected because most people will doubt the existance and thus not go looking for them, and the state government is the only group that can really mess things up. I guess the plan is to keep the lions hush hush for the most part until there are enough to keep the feds at bay anyway due to population size.

Oh, this person also said, keep you eyes peeled for wolverines.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:37 AM   #2
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Certainly makes sense to me. I always thought they were there anyway.


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Old 08-10-2008, 07:55 AM   #3
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The federal protection issue is nearly moot, unless the feds decide to enforce the Similarity of Appearance clause in the Endangered Species Act - which they've shown a reluctance to do - regardless of a cougar's origin, because the old taxonomy used to classify cougars is outdated. The eastern cougar is likely to soon be delisted because it never should have been listed in the first place. All native cougars in North America are genetically the same subspecies.

DNA evidence from eastern Canada is revealing cougars of both North and Latin America. Historically, there are no bounty records of cougars in New Brunswick (there were no deer) and very little in Quebec, so the cats that are now there, after an evidence gap of nearly 100 years, are likely former captives or their progeny. Call it an unsanctioned reintroduction.

Aside from deliberate releases, eastern Canada is the potential source for cats in the Daks, yet there's been only one incident of evidence in the Daks in the last 40 years (and more than 70 years before a body turned up in 1968, though bounty programs were still in place well into the mid 20th century). The DEC, the New York State Museum, Cornell, and SUNY ESF together completed a huge ADK carnivore study in '06. No cougars. Incidental evidence like roadkills, accidental trappings or shootings, houndsmen, and private remote wildlife cams have failed to provide any evidence. Even in places where there are cougars in very low densities, like the Midwest, incidental evidence appears quite reliably, like the cougar that left evidence across Wisconsin before being shot in Chicago in April. Florida looses about 15 panthers a year from a population of 100, every year, to roadkill.

If cougars are breeding in the Daks, why is there no incidental evidence, like there is everywhere else cougars live? Did this massive study by two publicly funded state agencies and a couple of research universities lie about cougar evidence? Presumably, a public official would be getting his data from just such a study, no?

If and when evidence does turn up, the DEC and the feds will be falling over themselves to prove it's a former captive (looking for Latin DNA). The bigger question is, if a former captive can survive (and breed) on its own and stay out of trouble, filling the ecological niche of the alpha predator we so desperately need, doesn't it deserve protection, regardless of where it came from? No one cares that New York's bald eagles and peregrine falcons were introduced from western sources.

At least the DEC, unlike other states, already protects the entire genus of cougar; protects all the subspecies. New York could soon find itself at the forefront of cougar recovery in the East when the USFWS announces the results of their review of the eastern cougar's status.
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:46 PM   #4
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Gulo, you stated the cougar would fill the ecological niche of the alpha predator we so desperately need.
If "we" needed the cougar and the habitat was here, the cougar would be here. What would the cougar do that isn't already being done by the coyote?
Isn't man the alpha predator?
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:53 PM   #5
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Gulo, you stated the cougar would fill the ecological niche of the alpha predator we so desperately need.
If "we" needed the cougar and the habitat was here, the cougar would be here. What would the cougar do that isn't already being done by the coyote?
Isn't man the alpha predator?
Larch

The Cougar would cull the Whitetail population as well as the Coyotes. By predating the coyote numbers, the snowshoe hare would not be nearly extinct here.

In answer to your question about "if we needed the Cougar, let me pose this to ponder.

The wilderness does not "need" humans, in fact thrives much better without us, why is humanity here? And a reminder, it was humans that hunted and trapped out of the Adirondacks, which was their natural habitat.

So I would argue that of the cougar and of man, it is the cougar that would be more beneficial to the Adirondacks.

Historically man presents the greatest threat to wilderness, as well as to other humans, then all the other species combined.

And man is an indiscriminate predator.

Hawk
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redhawk View Post
Larch

The Cougar would cull the Whitetail population as well as the Coyotes. By predating the coyote numbers, the snowshoe hare would not be nearly extinct here.

In answer to your question about "if we needed the Cougar, let me pose this to ponder.

The wilderness does not "need" humans, in fact thrives much better without us, why is humanity here? And a reminder, it was humans that hunted and trapped out of the Adirondacks, which was their natural habitat.

So I would argue that of the cougar and of man, it is the cougar that would be more beneficial to the Adirondacks.

Historically man presents the greatest threat to wilderness, as well as to other humans, then all the other species combined.

And man is an indiscriminate predator.

Hawk
Hawk is right on the money.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasquatch View Post
I was talking to a few people the other day about the great debate as to whether or not there were mountain lions in the Adirondacks. The conversation included someone who is in public office, which I will not say, but I figure the reasoning this person gives, well, they would know. So, here is the story on the ADK Lions....

...they are there, they are few, but they are breeding. The DEC says that there are cases of mistaken identity whenever they can. When they can't because of physical evidence, they claim they are pets that have been set loose. They will continue to stick to this line no matter what. The reason. If the DEC admits there is a wild population of lions, the FEDERAL government gets involved under the Endangered Species Act. We could see all kinds of FEDERAL rules, regulations and other idiocy . So, the DECs idea is to deny, deny, deny. That way, they keep the feds from coming in and causing all kinds of mayhem through their omnipresent idoicy, the lions stay protected because most people will doubt the existance and thus not go looking for them, and the state government is the only group that can really mess things up. I guess the plan is to keep the lions hush hush for the most part until there are enough to keep the feds at bay anyway due to population size.

Oh, this person also said, keep you eyes peeled for wolverines.
Unbelievable; I was just talking about the same thng on another post. They surely exist and you are right about the federal act. These cats may have been lost or loose pets 20 years ago, but not today. I'm sure its a hot but kept quiet issue at DEC.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:21 PM   #8
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Dosn't the coyote curently cull the whitetail population? So we should have cougars to prey on coyotes and hare? My point was that if the habitat was here then the cougar would be here. Some time ago there was an attempt to reintroudce the lynx, the habitat was not here and they left or got hit by cars. If man poses the greatest threat to wilderness maybe we should all leave and move elsewhere?
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gulo View Post
The federal protection issue is nearly moot, unless the feds decide to enforce the Similarity of Appearance clause in the Endangered Species Act - which they've shown a reluctance to do - regardless of a cougar's origin, because the old taxonomy used to classify cougars is outdated. The eastern cougar is likely to soon be delisted because it never should have been listed in the first place. All native cougars in North America are genetically the same subspecies.

DNA evidence from eastern Canada is revealing cougars of both North and Latin America. Historically, there are no bounty records of cougars in New Brunswick (there were no deer) and very little in Quebec, so the cats that are now there, after an evidence gap of nearly 100 years, are likely former captives or their progeny. Call it an unsanctioned reintroduction.

Aside from deliberate releases, eastern Canada is the potential source for cats in the Daks, yet there's been only one incident of evidence in the Daks in the last 40 years (and more than 70 years before a body turned up in 1968, though bounty programs were still in place well into the mid 20th century). The DEC, the New York State Museum, Cornell, and SUNY ESF together completed a huge ADK carnivore study in '06. No cougars. Incidental evidence like roadkills, accidental trappings or shootings, houndsmen, and private remote wildlife cams have failed to provide any evidence. Even in places where there are cougars in very low densities, like the Midwest, incidental evidence appears quite reliably, like the cougar that left evidence across Wisconsin before being shot in Chicago in April. Florida looses about 15 panthers a year from a population of 100, every year, to roadkill.

If cougars are breeding in the Daks, why is there no incidental evidence, like there is everywhere else cougars live? Did this massive study by two publicly funded state agencies and a couple of research universities lie about cougar evidence? Presumably, a public official would be getting his data from just such a study, no?

If and when evidence does turn up, the DEC and the feds will be falling over themselves to prove it's a former captive (looking for Latin DNA). The bigger question is, if a former captive can survive (and breed) on its own and stay out of trouble, filling the ecological niche of the alpha predator we so desperately need, doesn't it deserve protection, regardless of where it came from? No one cares that New York's bald eagles and peregrine falcons were introduced from western sources.

At least the DEC, unlike other states, already protects the entire genus of cougar; protects all the subspecies. New York could soon find itself at the forefront of cougar recovery in the East when the USFWS announces the results of their review of the eastern cougar's status.

If I put deer cams around in an area I hunt near Raquette Lake, I'm sure the little pussy cats would show themselves to be reality. I wont do it though. Let nature be naure and I will keep hunting with my back againsts the big trees.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:23 PM   #10
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When was the last time you believed someone that was in public office?
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:25 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=redhawk;104183]Larch



Historically man presents the greatest threat to wilderness, as well as to other humans, then all the other species combined.

And man is an indiscriminate predator.

Hawk[/QUOTE/]

Perfectly said,and true.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Dosn't the coyote curently cull the whitetail population?
Not really, Coyotes are more interested in the smaller animals, their natural prey, hars, rabbits, squirrels, etc

And with no natural predator, the coyotes are becoming a problem

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So we should have cougars to prey on coyotes and hare? My point was that if the habitat was here then the cougar would be here.
There are Cougars here. They are not in numbers but they are elusive and steer clear of humans. Even where they are prolific in the west, they are seldom seen. One of the largest populations of cougars in the US is in the black Hills of South dakota, yet they are seldom seen.

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Some time ago there was an attempt to reintroudce the lynx, the habitat was not here and they left or got hit by cars.
We're talking about Cougars, not Lynx's. World of difference, apples and oranges. And the reintroduction was flawed.


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If man poses the greatest threat to wilderness maybe we should all leave and move elsewhere?
There are many who would support that philosphy. But it doesn't change the facts.

Other species do not clear the forests, or dam the rivers, except for the beavers, who aid the ecosystem. They don't cause acid rain, or pollute the air and impact on streams is minimal. They don't start fires, they don't litter, they don't overpopulate, and they take only what they need. In fact in most cases, their impact is a PART OF NATURE.\

So like it, or not, or accept the truth of it, or not. That's the reality of the situation. The Adirondacks would be much better off with a lot more cougars, wolves, elk, bear, beaver, etc. and a lot less humans.

And that's an unalterable truth.

Hawk
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:47 PM   #13
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If the DEC knows they are there and aren't telling the public about it then that seems irresponsible on their part.
And that would be a surprise how?

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Originally Posted by backwoodsman View Post
It seems like a real safety issue.
Not really, last thing a Cougar wants is to be in proximity of a human.

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Other than sightings has anyone found hard evidence that they are here,even footprints.
Yes, Sighting and footprint, and no response from the DEC.

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Old 08-11-2008, 07:21 AM   #14
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I would love to see greater numbers of wild creatures, including some of the bigger mammals.

When you see any aerial shot of the adirondacks, it's obvious this place is meant for Moose, Fisher, and wolves. It's hard to believe that with this habitat there are so few Moose - comparatively.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:02 AM   #15
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hawk-"Not really, Coyotes are more interested in the smaller animals, their natural prey, hars, rabbits, squirrels, etc"
Thats odd, why do I see all the deer hair in that coyote scat?

hawk-" And the reintroduction was flawed." The reintroduction was headed by a well known wildlife bioligist"
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:51 AM   #16
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I have for some time been under the impression that coyotes had a preference for deer. I've heard the joyous chorus of the coyote pack intermingled with the screams of the deer on the hill above my house, and regularly find remains of deer preyed upon by coyotes. Curious, I googled "preferred prey of eastern coyote" and found THIS article (just the abstract actually) at the top of page 1.

An excerpt from that abstract:

"Based on the analysis of 2443 scats, deer and hare were the dominant food items. Other important food items included small mammals, and fruits during late summer. In areas where they were readily available, coyotes fed predominantly on hare during winter, with the use of deer declining as hare density increased. However, the functional response was not proportional to the changes in the relative densities of deer or hare. This was particularly evident at low deer densities, where coyotes continued to feed largely on deer, even in the presence of high hare densities."

Sure enough, both deer and hare seem to be major food sources for coyotes, at least in the study area. It would seem that deer are preferred, although I couldn't say with certainty without reading the entire article (and probably having an expert help me analyze/interpret it).

As for there being cougars in the Adirondacks, I can only say that I have never seen a track or any other evidence in the High Peaks region after several thousand miles of winter travel throughout that region. I doubt the High Peaks would be a preferred region for them anyways, but I'm just providing my observations as a data point.

As for whether humans belong in the wilderness, and are/aren't a part of it, all I have to do is look at a photo of this pale blue dot taken from the outer reaches of our solar system, and I clearly see man as a part of this great wilderness. That is just my opinion.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:58 AM   #17
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That's interesting - I guess I had assumed that coyotes would have mostly scavenged dead deer they found, rather than bring them down themselves.

While I agree with Hawk that humans have had the most effect on any area, the problem/question is that now that those humnas have messed it up so badly, what is the new equilibrium state? In other words, once we've run a species out of an area, does it make sense many years later to re-introduce it just because it was once there? Hasn't the area readjusted over the years to adapt without it? I don't know the answer to that...

Whatever the case, doesn't bother knowing there may be cougars up there...I kinda like the idea myself.

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Old 08-11-2008, 09:10 AM   #18
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Whatever the case, doesn't bother knowing there may be cougars up there...I kinda like the idea myself.
When coyotes started showing up in greater numbers the "old timers" around me were worried about it and in many cases opposed to it. As a youngster then, I thought it sounded pretty cool. Many of the old timers eventually saw that although the balance had changed their experiences in the wilds were enriched by the presence of these predators. Same story played out as bobcat, bear, etc expanded their range. Although I have begun to take on some of the caution of those old timers, I believe the same story will play out again as cougar return.

It's not always a happy balance though. My cousin down in Williamstown MA felt a draft in his house one morning as he came downstairs. He cursed himself for leaving the door open, but as he rounded the corner into the kitchen he was confronted by a rather curious bear!! I suppose they probably feel similarly uncomfortable when we visit their homes.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:16 AM   #19
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It's not always a happy balance though. My cousin down in Williamstown MA felt a draft in his house one morning as he came downstairs. He cursed himself for leaving the door open, but as he rounded the corner into the kitchen he was confronted by a rather curious bear!! I suppose they probably feel similarly uncomfortable when we visit their homes.
As long as the bear had already made coffee, then I guess it'd be OK!!
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:20 AM   #20
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As long as the bear had already made coffee, then I guess it'd be OK!!
I'll take mine black.
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