Research has shown that cougars, more so than any other apex predators in Canada, can successfully coexist with humans. A cougar's adaptability to human activity comes with many challenges, especially when it comes to safely coexisting with them. Our newest initiative, the Cougar Coexistence Project, looks to address these challenges and educate both communities living with cougars and those recreating in cougar territories with the information and tactics they need to minimize interactions and conflicts with cougars from occurring. The goal is to dispel myths, increase tolerance for cougars, and provide methods to reduce conflicts.
Although views towards cougars are generally positive, living or recreating in close proximity to them can amplify our fear towards this allusive and highly misunderstood species. Throughout the Ghost and Village of Waiparous areas in Alberta, there is evidence of frequent cougar presence in the area. This includes cougar tracks, clawed trees, and fresh scat throughout the neighbourhoods and trail networks.
The Cougar Coexistence Project looks to provide support for these communities and those recreating in them in the following ways:
Support communities coexisting with cougars by offering a solution-based and a proactive approach to reducing conflict and increasing tolerance at the urban-wildland interface, using the best available science. It is essential for this programs success that we work with these communities to understand their needs as well as to develop and implement effective and humane solutions that are of value to them.
Provide educational opportunities regarding cougar coexistence throughout backcountry areas and trails where cougars are known to live. This will be accomplished through installing permanent signage in communities residing in the urban-wildland interface across Alberta as well as in public land use zones and backcountry trail networks. This project's outreach program includes providing takeaway materials, such as informational brochures, on trail heads, at events and in farmers markets across Alberta. We will also make this information accessible right here on our website, through our social media channels, and newsletters.
Reduce cougar-human conflicts that can result in harm to people and often lead to the death of cougars and the corresponding detrimental effects on the ecosystem. To accomplish this goal, we have developed an extensive trail camera network that will track cougar movements to identify what locations cougars are most prevalent which will allow us focus our education efforts in these areas first. These cameras will also observe cougar behaviour which will aid us in identifying which behaviours and movement patterns which are essential to educate the public on.
This project has been piloted in the Village of Waiparous and the Back 40. With the help of Village's community members and our volunteers, work is already underway to develop cougar coexistence strategies that will help reduce cougar conflicts and increase tolerance for this important apex predator!
As we continue to develop our cougar-focused educational database and coexistence strategies, we are seeking donors and volunteers that are looking to make a positive difference in the treatment and management of cougars living in our communities. We are also seeking feedback through our survey from people coexisting with cougars whether through living or recreating in cougar country in Alberta.
Due to the demand EXPOSED has already received for this project, we are looking to expand this project to other communities such as the MD of Bighorn, Benchlands, West Bragg Creek and beyond. We are asking for you to consider making a one-time or monthly donation to our Cougar Coexistence Project to help us make this a reality. If you would like to be a part of the solution to cougar coexistence, please donate today.
Provide informational brochures to 40 trail users
Provide informational brochures to 80 trail users
Provide informational brochures to 160 trail users
Purchase a trail camera that will allow EWC to observe and track cougar movement and behaviour
Build a small outdoor educational message centre for community residents
Build a large outdoor educational message centre for trail users