By Ken Manning – North Island Gazette
Published: January 27, 2011
Say the word “cougar” on the North Island and people pay attention. Say that cougars need our protection, not vice versa, and you are probably in for an argument.
Government and the public need to reconsider the question of killing cougars and regulatory muscle needs to be inserted behind any decisions that are made, argue scientists Corinna J. Wainwright, Chris T. Darimont and Paul C. Paquet. Their report, titled British Columbia’s Neglected Carnivore: A Conservation Assessment and Conservation Planning Guide for Cougars, presents what is, and isn’t, known about the predators so more thoughtful decisions can be made.
“… the government cannot make thoughtful decisions until three critical gaps are closed: the gap in the scientific understanding of cougar ecology, the gap in the B.C. government’s ability to conserve cougars without knowing how many there are, and the lack of an ethical framework to inform decisions,” said Paquet, speaking for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, in a news release. “Only when these gaps are closed can the province begin to determine if cougars can be managed safely and prudently.”