Friday, April 24, 2009

Cougars Making a Comeback in Our Area

As a cottage owner on Manitoulin Island I subscribe to one of the Island's newspapers and a recent edition ran a story about cougars and we're not talking the two legged variety.
Once virtually extinct in the late 1800's, these cats also known as mountain lions and puma's are now believed to total between 550 to 600 in Ontario. The Ontario Puma Foundation has been studying these felines for a number of years and works in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment Canada and other organizations for the purpose of protecting habitat, educating the public and learning more about how to ensure that a sustainable population of these animals is maintained. The group have designated what they call "cougar corridor," which is a band running from the Ottawa Valley west to Sault Ste Marie and as far south as the bottom of Georgian Bay. Cougar sightings have been recorded throughout this corridor including here in the Georgian Triangle. I have personally spoken to people that have either seen one of the elusive cats in the Duntroon area or have seen tracks in various locations across the Niagara Escarpment.
Part of the reason for the cougars comeback is the existence of a sustainable food source, mainly deer. According to Stuart Kenn, provincial researcher for the Ontario Puma Foundation "where you find deer, you find cougars." The significant numbers of deer both on Manitoulin Island as well as in this area would certainly support their existence and explain the sightings.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has a "report a rare species" section on their website that allows the public to input information regarding the sightings of rare and or endangerd animals and birds across the province and you are encouraged to do so.
Given that it was Earth Day earlier this week, stories such as the return of a species like the cougar are both timely and encouraging and is further evidence that the destructive impact man has had on nature can indeed be reversed.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.