Are there urban cougars?
This week in the news, police in Aberdeenshire, Scotland were called to a farm because a tiger was sitting in a man’s barn! The police took this very seriously. They sent out several units, while others called local wildlife preserves to find out if an animal was missing.
Halfway across the globe in Banff, Canada, a cougar was seen strolling across downtown.
Immediately, officers went searching while an alert went out to residents to remove any outside food that might attract the wild animal. Officers quickly caught sight of the cougar darting between cars and followed its footprints. Eventually, the cougar returned to the wildlife corridor.
These aren’t surprising incidents. When I researched Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma, I discovered that the reclusive puma or cougar often lives in urban areas. Because they are nocturnal, they can often avoid being seen unless they attack and eat pets, chickens, and so on.
The Brazilian scientists, Márcia Rodrigues, Ph.D. and Sergio Ferreira, have worked hard to establish a wildlife corridor for the pumas there. A wildlife corridor is protected route for wildlife to travel between suitable habitat areas. It’s necessary because animals need to be able to find others of their kind to mate, because many animals travel as they hunt, and because of seasonal changes in food and shelter.
The Scottish police had to take the call about a wild animal in a barn seriously because it could easily happen. The Banff officials had to track the puma across downtown Banff to make sure it returned to the protected areas.
Because habitat is shrinking, humans must find ways to accommodate wildlife in our urban areas. Wildlife corridors are one important tool in living happily with wild pumas or cougars.