Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mountain Lions: A Return to the East?

Yesterday, the Washington Post published this story about the idea of repopulating mountain lions to their once-native habitat in the Eastern United States. The article states:

If mountain lions returned to their eastern U.S. range, the study found, they could prevent 708,600 deer-vehicle collisions, 155 human deaths and 21,400 human injuries over 30 years. That would save at least $2.13 billion, the authors said.

Here's a picture of mountain kittens:

(from SPCR)

Whether this would qualify as introducing a species is rightfully up for debate. There are often devastating impacts of introducing new species. Then again, reintroducing old species may not have that same impact. Then, some animals are just terrifying.

Another issue is whether the apparently overly deer-afflicted areas should allow for laxer hunting laws. Venison's one of my favourite meats. Should we be the predators?

Regardless, I think the debate's been opened about what an American ecosystem needs to perform at its best. Now that we're ingrained into the territory, this is a productive conversation. Is a wild cat more effective than a gun?

Obviously, no one wants a deer crashing into a car. It doesn't work well for any of the involved parties. Reintroducing mountain lions may be a good solution. I hope it is - they're beautiful animals.

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