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

  • Author / Creator
    Morrison, Carl D
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.