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The ecology of a re-established cougar (Puma concolor) population in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan

  • Author / Creator
    Bacon, Michelle
  • Cougars (Puma concolor) have recently begun to reclaim former range and also are expanding into new territory. The Cypress Hills of southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan now hosts the most eastern confirmed breeding population of cougars in Canada. However, with the return of cougars come new issues about human safety and risk of livestock depredation. Using GPS radiocollars, scat analysis, snowtracking and wildlife cameras, I found that the Cypress Hills boasts one of the highest densities of cougars ever reported, yet the large cats avoid human-use areas and have not been documented to prey on livestock. Using aerial ungulate survey data, I also show that the increase in cougar abundance is associated with a shift in distribution of naïve ungulate prey to areas outside the park. Provided that cougars continue to avoid humans and cattle, this island habitat could prove to be an important stepping stone to further expansion eastward.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R36X35
  • 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.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Boyce, Mark (Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Cassady St. Clair, Colleen (Biological Sciences)
    • Krogman, Naomi (Rural Economy)