Cougars: BC’s neglected carnivores

January 19, 2011

Sidney, BC – Today, in anticipation of the first provincial management plan for cougars,  Raincoast Conservation Foundation released the report, “British Columbia’s Neglected Carnivore: a conservation assessment and conservation planning guide for Cougars.”

Download the report here BC’s Neglected Carnivore

Download the report summary here Raincoast cougar report at-a-glance

The report, authored by Raincoast scientists Corinna Wainwright, Chris Darimont and Paul Paquet, builds a foundation for longer-term, larger- scale research, informed advocacy, and educational outreach throughout cougar distribution in BC, and on Vancouver Island in particular.

“At present, provincial laws, regulations, and practices for conserving and managing cougars, fail to address the very real and growing threats to survival cougars now face. In our assessment, we concluded that the government cannot make thoughtful decisions about the future of cougars in BC until three critical gaps are closed: the gap in the scientific understanding of cougar ecology, the gap in the BC governments ability to conserve cougars without knowing how many there are, and the lack of an ethical framework to inform decisions. Only when these gaps are closed can the province begin to determine if cougars can be managed safely and prudently,” said Paul Paquet.

Beautiful and mysterious, cougars have persisted against countless and unrelenting threats to retain a substantial foothold in BC. Blessed with abundant wilderness and established cougar populations, BC provides an unparalleled opportunity for the conservation of these big cats.

Based on a comprehensive review of cougar ecology, research, and management, our report provides an assessment and framework for a science and ethics based conservation plan.

“Conservation and management of BC cougars ought to consider commonly held  ethical values of British Columbians regarding biodiversity conservation and  the welfare of individual cougars,” said Corinna Wainwright.

“While our review of cougar management argues for increased caution, a deeper question emerged. That is, why should this magnificent animal be hunted at all? The recreational hunting of cougars does not feed families; they are killed for sport and trophy,“ said Chris Darimont.

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