The Eastern Cougar: Historic Accounts, Scientific Investigations, and New Evidence

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Chris Bolgiano, Jerry Roberts
Stackpole Books, 2005 - Nature - 246 pages
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  • The first book to cover the history and current status of the mysterious big cat
  • Investigates the controversial question of whether wild cougars still inhabit the eastern United States
  • Collects written accounts from the settlers who first encountered the animals and includes contributions from leading figures in the field

When European settlers first reached the shores of North America, eastern cougars were plentiful, ranging up and down the coast of the present-day United States. By the beginning of the twentieth century, they had been almost entirely wiped out, victims of the same rapacity and ignorance that decimated wolf and bison numbers elsewhere in the country. Today, the continued existence of wild cougars remains hotly disputed, as do proposals to reintroduce cougars to the East. This groundbreaking anthology brings together accounts of early settlers and explorers, presents pro and con arguments on the wild cougar question, and examines the social and environmental implications of reintroduction. More than just a study of a single animal, this fascinating anthology probes America's troubled history with large predators and makes a vital contribution to the wildlife management debates of today.


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User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

Paradoxically, a not-very-well-written book with a lot of useful information. The authors – well, more accurately the editors – are a freelance writer on environmental topics (Chris Bolgiano) and a ... Read full review



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Page 3 - Ann, which is not above six leagues from Boston ; some likewise being lost in woods have heard such terrible roarings as have made them much aghast ; which must either be devils or lions ; there being no other creatures which use to roar saving bears, which have not such a terrible kind of roaring. Besides, Plymouth men have traded for lions...
Page 17 - In the Southern States," says Audubon, " where there are no caves or rocks, the lair of the cougar is generally in a very dense thicket or in a cane-brake. It is a rude sort of bed of sticks, weeds, leaves, and grasses or mosses, and where the canes arch over it, as they are evergreen, their long pointed leaves turn the rain at all seasons of the year.
Page 6 - Deer, or any thing he can take; no Creature is so nice and clean, as this, in his Food. When he has got his Prey, he fills his Belly with the Slaughter, and carefully lays up the Remainder, covering it very neatly with Leaves, which if any thing touches, he never eats any more of it. He purrs as Cats do: if taken when Young, is never to be redaim'd from his wild Nature.
Page 5 - They have not yet seized any of our people," writes the naturalist, " but many have been sadly frightened with them. They have pursued many men both on horseback and on foot. Many have shot them down, and others have escaped by running away. But I believe, as a panther doth not much fear a single man. so he hath no great desire to seize him, for, if he had, running from him would be but a poor meaiis to escape from such a nimble, strong creature, which will leap above twenty feet at a leap.
Page 6 - Young, is never to be reclaimed from his wild Nature. He hollows like a Man in the Woods, when killed, which is by making him take a Tree, as the least Cur will presently do; then the Huntsmen shoot him; if they do not kill him outright, he is a dangerous Enemy, when wounded, especially to the Dogs that approach him. This Beast is the greatest Enemy to the Planter, of any Vermin in Carolina.
Page 16 - ... in the forest with the intention of springing on him unawares ; but on this point nothing definite will ever be known, as the pioneers and hunters of the past were only anxious to shoot the cougar and not to study its instinct and disposition. It is now many years since Audubon and Bachman wrote, " This animal, which has excited so much terror in the minds of the ignorant and timid, has been nearly exterminated in all the Atlantic States, and we do not recollect a single well-authenticated instance...
Page 13 - When the benighted traveller, or the wearied hunter may be slumbering in his rudely and hastily constructed bivouac at the foot of a huge tree, amid the lonely forest, his fire nearly out, and all around most dismal, dreary, and obscure, he may perchance be roused to a state of terror by the stealthy tread of the prowling Cougar; or his frightened horse, by its snortings and struggles to get loose, will awaken him in time to see the glistening eyes of the dangerous beast glaring upon him like two...

About the author (2005)

Chris Bolgiano is a librarian and freelance writer living in western Virginia. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and numerous other publications. She is the author of the books Mountain Lion (0-8117-2867-6) and Living in the Appalachian Forest (0-8117-2845-5). Jerry Roberts is a writer, editor, and critic who has written or contributed to countless books and articles on various topics. He lives in Torrance, California.

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