Keep your wild pigs, we’ve got cougars!

Remember the debate over wild cougars in the North Country over the past few years?

Jonathan Brown (parts one and two) and Brian Mann have both tracked the trail of testimony, anecdotes and evidence. (Or lack thereof.)

Cougars (Puma concolor) are back in Ontario. Photo: Art G., taken at Philadelphia Zoo.

Well, investigators have been checking for proof of wild cougars in Ontario too and one verdict is in: they’re here. (Make that “they’re back” in historic terms.)

As this Ottawa Citizen article reports,

OTTAWA — A four-year Ontario study confirms what many rural residents felt sure about: cougars are again living wild in Ontario.

Officially, the big cats were considered to have been wiped out by the early 1900s all across Eastern Canada.

But a major research effort has documented tracks, fur, photos, DNA, scat (droppings), and hundreds of sightings — some of them by trained biologists.

“The evidence from this study provides proof that cougars live in Ontario; however it does not indicate the origin of these animals,” the study concludes.

It doesn’t address Quebec directly, but notes that the cats are in Eastern Ontario and like to roam.

The study period was from 2006 to 2010.

The study was authored by Rick Rosatte, a biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Trent University. The Citizen article reports his findings can be found in the Canadian Field-Naturalist. A pdf of that report is found at their website, here.
Hmm, maybe Ontario (and Quebec’s?) wild cougars stand at the ready to help repel any spread of the feral pig situation? (Or is the St. Lawrence enough to do that?) Stay tuned!
Lastly, modern slang for the term ‘cougar‘ means comments like this one  are inevitable (from “Ottawa Guy 67″ in response to the Citizen article):

Anyone who spent a night pub-crawling through the Byward Market could have told you they never left…

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8 Responses to “Keep your wild pigs, we’ve got cougars!”

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  1. Kent Gregson says:

    These studies of wether or not big cats live in certain areas seem to forget that the range of such critters is usually over a thousand miles. So if there’s a big cat in southern Canada there’s a big cat in the northern U.S. The cats range is huge, but doesn’t recognize borders.

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  2. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    We’re just going to have to get used to the fact that these animals are going to drag a few of us off into the bushes every year or two and devour us. When I go camping out west i figure there is some chance that one of these is going to sneak up on me in the middle of the night, grab me by the back of the neck and shake me like a chipmunk till I’m dead.

    I always try to sleep on my back so that I have a fighting chance, although what chance do I really have with my puny fingers against a catamount’s razor sharp claws and teeth? Camping will be much more of an adventure around here in the future as more of these beautiful and powerful animals move in.

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  3. PNElba says:

    Maybe the cougars are following the pigs.

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  4. tootightmike says:

    We need one in Potsdam to eat up some of the skunks, raccoons, and groundhogs.

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  5. Kathy says:

    I saw one on our property about 4 years ago. AND I heard it. Watched it pace the tree line.

    Yeah. It was a cougar alright.

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  6. Paul says:

    knuck, as they move in you will see gun laws like we have in CO and WY. You don’t have to be eaten.

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  7. Paul says:

    One of the distractions on this issue are the folks that have made up stories about sightings of these animals. That just makes the legitimate claims look suspicious.

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  8. Just before Christmas I had a cougar in my backyard 50 yards away.
    Took a video with my camera and was able to watch through my binoculars.
    I know what I saw.
    MNR didn’t confirm when I sent it to them but came out with an article in the Ottawa Citizen.

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