Showing posts with label IUCN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IUCN. Show all posts

Monday 31 October 2011

Is the cougar endangered?

Puma in forest. Camera trap photo.
The formal answer is provided by the IUCN Red List™. They should know as they are a bunch of experts who have taken it upon themselves to report to the world their assessment as to the the survivability of all the world's species, flora and fauna.

As at 2011, they say that the cougar (Puma or mountain lion) is of "Least Concern". This means that the cougar is not endangered according to them.

These are the categories:
IUCN catergories

IUCN Red List for Cats -- The symbols mean the following:

Symbol Meaning
EX Extinct
EW Extinct in the Wild
CR Critically Endangered
EN Endangered
VU Vulnerable
NT Near Threatened
LC Least Concern

You can see that "LC" is the best assessment meaning not endangered. Is this correct? They say that there are about 15,000 cougars in North America. I don't think it is correct. If you take a long term view you will come up with a different answer. It depends on how far into the future you are basing your assessment. In 300 years time there will be no cougars in the wild, probably. On that basis and on current trends the risk is high.

It seems to me that assessments follow the event. That is OK but they should also make long term predictions as a proactive measure. Reporting after the event does nothing for conservation and the purpose of the Red List™ is to aid in conservation, isn't it?

Associated page: IUCN Red List for Cats

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