|Cougar Recovery in Eastern North America, Apr 12|
Chris Spatz is a former psychiatric social worker and a director of the Gunks Climbers' Coalition as well as President of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation. He writes and lectures about the natural history of the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge where he lives in southern New York State, and where he caught the spell of the fabled eastern cougar.
Spatz has run remote camera surveys at High Point State Park, NJ and in the Shawangunks of New York at Minnewaska State Park and the Mohonk Preserve. Reviewing his survey findings with cougar biology, behavior and their current range, Chris will explain why cougar sightings don’t produce evidence, and how restorations of this magnificent predator are imperative for the recovery of critically declining eastern forests. Chris says “I was a bartender, former clinical social worker with a MSW, English major undergrad. It would have been biology, but I sucked at math. Now, I'm a kind of volunteer social worker for pumas.” Bringing Back the Legend!
The Cougar Rewilding Foundation (CRF) is a nonprofit whose mission is to facilitate the recovery of the cougar in suitable wild habitat east of the Rocky Mountains. CRF promotes recovery of breeding populations of cougars through natural recolonization and mandated restorations to the central, southeastern and eastern United States, advocating responsible management in habitat where cougars are recovering. CRF also believes in full legal protection of all cougars living wild east of the Rockies, regardless of origin.
The search for the eastern cougar is one of the great riddles in North American natural history. Despite thousands of sightings from Maine to Mississippi, only a dozen confirmations have emerged east of Chicago during the past generation. The Cougar Rewilding Foundation has conducted remote camera surveys in seven eastern states, investigated years of field evidence and cougar reports, and is featured in the book, Heart of a Lion, tracking the South Dakota cat that trekked to Connecticut seeking a mate.
To help raise awareness for their cause, the Cougar Rewilding Foundation conducts public education programs by preparing cougar education modules and lesson plans, exhibiting at outdoor and conservation events, and giving presentations to interested groups.
CRF also conducts habitat and public attitude surveys, as well as evaluates evidence and conducts investigations in collaboration with wildlife agencies to document cougar presence along their expanding range into eastern habitat.
Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 (Archive on Friday, May 5, 2017)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre Contributed by Jym St. Pierre