It appears even in the animal kingdom teenagers can pose a problem at times. A thirteen year study by WSU researchers has turned the cougar management approach in the state on its ear. Cougar management has always been based on the belief that containing and removing more cougars lessened the cougar threat to livestock, game animals, and even pets. And yet as cattle rancher Jack Field has stated.
FIELD: In the Blue Mountain region I’ve heard numerous times (of) the problems people are having with increased cougar population.
What has been discovered is that the removal of mature adult male cougars leaves an overabundance of juvenile toms, in essence, teenagers. These adolescent toms, unlike their mature counterparts, don’t maintain exclusive territories and haven’t learned to avoid humans and livestock, thus they hunt anything and everything, everywhere. Based on this new information the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be implementing a new cougar management plan beginning in January - each of the state’s game management units will have a limit allowing for harvest of no more than fourteen percent of that area’s cougars. Once the limit is filled, cougar hunting will be suspended for the year in that unit. This means that hunters will remove no more than the surplus of animals that would be generated through natural reproduction. Hunters will be allowed to take their tags to other units that haven’t reached the limit.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.