Skip to comments.How humans, vanishing cougars changed Yosemite
Posted on 05/02/2008 10:53:48 AM PDT by jazusamo
Agile, fast and fierce, cougars once hunted their prey throughout Yosemite National Park, but as human invasions and hunting began about 80 years ago, the predators steadily disappeared, and the entire ecology of the fabled valley was disrupted, researchers say they have discovered.
With fewer cougars to prey on them, Yosemite's mule deer multiplied and browsed on the tasty shoots of young black oak trees. The oaks disappeared, pines and firs replaced them, and even the wild evening primrose, known for its nutritious roots and its perfumed oil, grew rare among the altered plant growth in the valley's moist meadow soils.
A new study by Oregon State University scientists says the vanishing of the cougar had long-term effects on Yosemite that closely resemble the ecological impact of the disappearance of wolves in Yellowstone.
"The loss of top predators, whether it's wolves in Yellowstone or cougars in Yosemite, is having a severe and degrading impact on plant communities," says William Ripple of Oregon State's department of forest resources, the lead author of a report published online in the journal Biological Conservation.
The study by Ripple and his Oregon State colleague Robert Beschta is the first of its kind ever conducted in Yosemite. It is an effort to find evidence confirming a still-controversial theory about how the loss of a breed of predatory animal can affect an entire ecological system.
"There are interactions everywhere in nature," Ripple said Thursday. "In Yosemite, the predators like cougars are tightly linked to the herbivores, like deer. The herbivores browse on the young oak shoots and keep their numbers down so that other trees, like pines and firs, can invade. They, in turn, are linked to other plants - all along the line."
But scientists at Yosemite, who - like most Californians - refer to cougars...
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Interesting cougar study although controversial according to article.
Simple solution: Allow hunters to harvest more muled deer from the park to keep the population down.
That thought crossed my mind also, it would be quite an experience to hunt in Yosemite.
They can have all the ones in my yard. They are a weed here..........
“..how best to avoid provoking them..”
Make sure the first shot counts.
Here's an idea. CHOP DOWN THOSE TREES!
But seriously, are we living in a static world? Is every living organisms status supposed to remain throughout all of the exsistence of the universe? Because, one time at band camp, we used to see these little chameleons, and now we see these other type of lizards. Is that 'cause of global warming change?
The new lizards ate the old ones. either that or they immigrated in to do what chameleons won’t do. :)
Exactly...The enviro nuts take the position that the great outdoors is supposed to remain as it has for hundreds of years, that cannot happen due to population explosion of one animal and that animal is man.
You could always tell when the mule deer pop got out of hand ...you would find evidence of mass winter starvation the next spring. Now they go just go down to the nearest suburb and dine on the landscaping.
Hunting would be a solution but the FS and Parks Services try their best to discourage those “nasty” guns.
Of course there is millions of square miles of wilderness area 20 miles north of Yosemite that the cougars have migrated to. Evironuts fail to mention this.
“The reason for the increase in attacks and sightings in California is absolutely clear. Estimates of the current population of mountain lions in California are around 5,000 to 6,000, which is probably not far off from what it was prior to the human devastation of their population.”
Cougers are far from being vanished.
Correct, and with them being protected in CA I would think their numbers are increasing.
The related panthers are almost extinct in florida now..
According the California Department of Fish & Game, there are a lot more lions than that. They estimate that there are now some 15,000 to 20,000 lions in California.
And millions of square miles of more wilderness just south of Yosemite too. I know, I live in the middle of it. Most of the Sierra Nevada Mountains south of Tahoe all the way down to the Ridgecrest area (260 miles south) are wilderness.
That sounds closer to the numbers that I’ve read and they’re on the increase.
Simple solution: Allow hunters to harvest more muled deer from the park
Mountain lion sought in Eagle Rock
Police and animal control officers are trying to trap the animal, which is in the back yard of a house.
Authorities are trying to trap a mountain lion in Eagle Rock this morning.
Los Angeles police received a call about 8:45 a.m. that a mountain lion had been seen in the backyard of a house in the 5000 block of College View Avenue, said Officer Norma Eisenman of the LAPD.
Several animal care agencies are on the scene, where the animal is boxed in. It was unclear how the animal ended up in the backyard, Eisenman said
I wonder how that animal could have gotten in that backyard? :-)
Me too. I thought that they were a rare endangered species?
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