BOOKS: Listening to Cougar
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2008:
Listening to Cougar
Marc Bekoff & Cara Blessley Lowe
University Press of Colorado
(5589 Arapahoe Ave., Suite 206-C
Boulder, CO 80303), 2007.
200 pages, hardcover. $24.95.
The 20 contributors to Listening to Cougar among them look at
pumas in about every way imaginable, from perspectives including
those of predator protection activist Wendy Keefover-Ring, popular
nature writers Rick Bass, Ted Kerasote, and Barry Lopez,
primatologist Jane Goodall, a couple of mystics or would-be mystics,
and of course those of the editors, Cougar Fund cofounder Cara
Blessley Lowe and ethologist Marc Bekoff.
The focus is on face-to-face encounters, but not on scary
incidents, although appendices detail the 23 known human fatalities
caused by pumas in the U.S. and Canada since 1890.
The toll is approximately the annual average for killings by
pet dogs in the U.S. during the past 20 years, and in recent years
has been close to the annual average just for pit bull terriers.
Certainly pumas do occasionally kill and eat people, yet remarkably
seldom, considering the millions of people who hike, camp, hunt,
fish, and ride mountain bikes in puma territory.
Compiled to increase appreciation of how pumas live mostly
unseen and unthreatening toward humans, Listening to Cougar is
dedicated to the late Rocky Spencer, a Wash-ington state wildlife
biologist, “who spent his life educating people how to peacefully
co-exist with wildlife.” His obituary appeared in the September 2007
edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.