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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3ZQ3X

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Spatial ecology of cougars (Puma concolor) in the Cypress Hills: Implications for human-cougar interactions and range expansion Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
puma concolor
spatial ecology
resource selection function
dispersal
space use
movement
cougar
human-cougar interaction
mountain lion
Cypress Hills
habitat selection
range expansion
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Morrison, Carl D
Supervisor and department
Nielsen, Scott (Renewable Resources)
Boyce, Mark (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Murie, Jan (Biological Sciences)
Cassady St. Clair, Colleen (Biological Sciences)
Department
Department of Biological Sciences
Specialization
Ecology
Date accepted
2013-05-27T13:34:07Z
Graduation date
2013-11
Degree
Master of Science
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
Cougar (Puma concolor) range is expanding eastward in North America. Understanding how range expansion is occurring in a human-dominated landscape is needed to manage the social and ecological implications of a returning large carnivore. To address this, I used GPS-radio collars and remote cameras to study the habitat and movement ecology of an isolated and recently reestablished population of cougars in the Cypress Hills in southwest Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta, Canada. I found that cougars avoided high human-use areas during seasonal peaks in human activity but used these areas according to their availability when human activity was lower. During transience, sub-adult cougars adopted fast-paced nocturnal movements to traverse large stretches of unsuitable (matrix) habitat. The cougar’s adaptability to changes in human activity, together with their dispersal capability, will facilitate greater eastward range expansion. This could potentially restore important components of ecosystem structure and function to areas currently devoid of large carnivores.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3ZQ3X
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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