There is growing interest in the scientific community as well as among the public, about the recovery of cougar populations. Cougars were once the most widespread large carnivore in the Americas, but fear, overreaction to their effects on livestock, and the exploitation of them for bounties led to extirpation in the majority of their former range.
It is ironic that the hard work of State Wildlife managers and academics led to the successful re-establishment of breeding populations in many places, but came with the price of allowing them to be killed simply for pleasure.
Most in the conservation community would agree that the co-existence of predators and prey enhances ecological diversity. We can celebrate the news in the article below, but there is an urgent need to get ahead of the dispersing cougar populations with intense and concerted education and outreach. Sound knowledge will prevent future vilification of this magnificent creature. The keys to co-existence will be conflict prevention and social tolerance if cougars are to regain territory where the biggest problems are habitat destruction and fragmentation.