Tuesday 30 September 2008

Cougar sightings

Cougar wild cat
Cougar wild cat - have we seen anything more beautiful and splendid than the face of this fellow animal? great photo by digitalART2 well done.

There has been a report recently about a spate of Cougar sightings by the residents of a town in the USA - Blackstone Va. This town is in Eastern USA where it is almost certain that all Cougars have been removed through our activity except in Florida where there are about 100. The Florida Cougar is critically endangered.

The Blackstone rush of Cougar sightings were reported by the local media (15 stories - is that right?). The editor of the local paper is the Mayor of the town I believe. The point is this. A small newspaper needs stories and Cougars create that kind of middle America readable story and it fills papers and heaven knows I am sure that it is hard sometimes to fill a local newspaper.

This creates more stories, more Cougar sightings and hysteria eventually takes over. And the media started it. Worse it's the innocent Cougar that gets the worst of it all as people will be more likely to kill one if one actually turns up, which thankfully will almost certainly not happen.

So what happens is this; the local people start believing that there are Cougars about. When they see something that might look like a Cougar at a distance (and a lot of animals in the dark or dusk might) they report it and get a little panicky. You get old people with eyesight to match sitting on their porches in the evening convincing themselves that a massive Cougar is about to turn up.

In fact the wild Cougar is not that large (about the size of a person) and can be frightened off using proper techniques. I wonder if the local paper wrote about that and conservation and how the Cougar has been killed off in Eastern USA and will be almost certainly become extinct in the wild in the USA generally within say 50 years unless for example sport hunting of the Cougar is banned. These are the real issues the big issues but unfortunately they are a little boring to local people sitting on their porches looking out for that ellusive big cat..........

Cougar sightings to home page

Cougar sightings - Photo: published under a creative commons license - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.

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