Cougars from South Dakota

I have a proposition. You are obviously passionate about cougars in the East. I fear 50 years from now, when I am long gone, people will still be looking for evidence—occasionally finding it but no indication of a continuously breeding population. There will not be enough cougars to carry out their ecological functions in New England. Maybe they will recolonize from the Midwest, but right now cougars in the principal source areas in North and South Dakota are overhunted and the number of confirmed dispersers is declining.

The South Dakota Dept. of Game Fish & Parks has a standing offer to other state wildlife agencies. If they want cougars, South Dakota will provide them. What if a few radiocollared males were introduced to suitable spots in New England? If there are females, the males will find them and kittens will be born. If not, people would have time to get adjusted to the fact that undoubtedly real cougars live in the area, and females could be introduced. We agree that only one subspecies of cougar exists in North America, so the fact they originated in the Black Hills would make no difference.

Instead of using all your energy looking for evidence, begin the public education process. To start with, a scientific study is needed to if determine suitable habitat is present (DONE) and public attitude surveys (NOT DONE as far as I know).


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