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Classroom Resources: Troubled Teens

Article by Dawn Stover

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Discussion Questions

1.    If Robert Wielgus’ theory about the cause of “problem cougars” is correct, how might hunting regulations for cougars be changed to address the issue?
2.    What are the implications of the finding that cougars spend a large amount of time cruising the edges of suburban neighborhoods without being detected?
3.    What kinds of animals are most likely to show a relationship between the presence of adult males in the population and low levels of negative interactions with humans?
4.    Mat Alldredge suggests an alternative hypothesis for the described pattern of human-wildlife interactions.  What is it, and what kinds of information or experiments would be necessary to determine if either his or Wielgus’ theory is correct?
5.    What does Gay Bradshaw mean when she says that species other than humans have “distinct cultures”?  What are the implications of this for the management of wildlife populations?

Websites for Further Information

•    The Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University

•    Living with Cougars, by the Washington Department f Fish and Wildlife:

•    The Kerulos Center:

•    Human interactions with cougars, pumas, and mountain lions, by the Colorado Division of Wildlife

Human-Wildlife Interactions in the News

•    Predator Attacks Escalate as Americans Encroach on Wildlife Habitat (National Geographic, August 27, 2001):

•    After Coyote Attacks, a Denver Suburb Turns to a Gun-Wielding Trapper (New York Times, March 16, 2009):

•    Predators [a three-part series] (New York Times, September 29, October 6, and October 13, 2009):

•    Coyotes Kill Woman on Hike in Canadian Park (New York Times, October 29, 2009):

Peer-reviewed Literature (in addition to the citations listed in the article)

•    Clark, D.A., and D.S. Slocombe. 2009. Respect for grizzly bears: an aboriginal approach for co-existence and resilience.  Ecology and Society 14: 42.

•    Cooley, H.S., R.B. Wieglus, G. Koehler, and B. Maletzke. 2009.  Source populations in carnivore management: cougar demography and emigration in a lightly hunted population.  Animal Conservation 12: 321-328.

•    Spencer, R.D., R.A. Beausoleil, and D.A. Martorello. 2008. How agencies respond to human-black bear conflicts: a survey of wildlife agencies in North America. Ursus 18: 217-229.

•    Towns, L., A.E. Derocher, I. Sterling, N.J. Nunn, and D. Hedman. 2009. Spatial and temporal patterns of problem polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba. Polar Biology 32: 1529-1537.

Key Concepts

•    Human-wildlife interaction
•    Hunting
•    Wildlife biology
•    Population age structure
•    Urban Wildlife
•    Cougars

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