Cover image for Cougar!
Danz, Harold P.
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Publication Information:
Athens, OH : Swallow Press : Ohio University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xv, 310 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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QL737.C23 D35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Known alternately as the puma, mountain lion, or panther, the cougar covers a territory on this continent almost as far-ranging as humans. Previous literature has implied, in a carefully crafted but thinly veiled manner, that the cougar presents little threat to human life and that a person should more fear the possibility of being struck by "a piano falling from the sky." Documentation on cougar attacks has been sketchy, thus lending credence to the false notion of the cougar as a timid and cowardly species, one that flees at the mere suggestion of possible human contact.

In Cougar! Harold Danz integrates the past history of Felis concolor, its behavior, habits, and relationship with other species, with current conditions and discusses the continued existential probabilities for the cougar as a wild species. He analyzes nearly 150 cougar attacks on humans as the rare but devastating effects of an increasing cougar population and the expanded use by humans of ecotone areas and cougar habitat.

Although the ideas presented here may not be welcomed by some, this book will prove useful in understanding the dilemma facing the future of human interaction with this animal. Biologically sound, historically thorough, and politically frank, Cougar! is an important study on a growing environmental problem.

Author Notes

Harold P. Danz, now a free-lance writer in Chandler, Arizona, was formerly with the National Park Service and the American Bison Association. He is the author of The Bison Breeder's Handbook and Of Bison and Man.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The cougar has the largest range of any of the larger cats, even after centuries of human persecution. There is evidence that cougars are expanding their range again, and as they learn to live adjacent to a human population that is also expanding, their interactions with humans become inevitable. Does the cougar constitute a greater threat to humans than other predators in the U.S.? Danz, a former employee of the National Park Service, attempts to answer this question. The first few chapters explore the biology of Felis concolor, including basic natural history, such as breeding, physical characteristics, and relationships with prey. Interwoven with the text are quotes from older accounts by a wide range of writers. The remaining chapters are concerned with the human-cougar relationship, starting with Native Americans and ending with our urbanized culture. The author feels that humans and cougars can coexist as long as cougars inhabit locations that are not used as everyday living space for humans. This clear-eyed look at one of our most dangerous predators is recommended for all libraries. --Nancy Bent

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although National Park Service employee Danz (Of Bison and Man) states in his introduction that his purpose in writing this book is to determine whether cougars are more dangerous to humans than North America's other four major predators‘the grizzly bear, the black bear, the gray wolf and the jaguar‘he often roams far from his original thesis. Danz's research into the elusive cat is impressively thorough, much of it harvested from first-hand interviews, but his abundant facts and anecdotes fail to coalesce into a coherent argument. That flaw combines with his dry writing to make his book read like a long (if deeply informative) encyclopedia entry with subheads for appearance, breeding and family life, hunting, vanishing territory, relation with humans, relation with other animals, etc. In the end, Danz treads a careful line between zealous environmentalists and fiery hunters by concluding that "the cougar can and should inhabit only locations that are not used as everyday living space by human beings." Photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Danz offers a balanced presentation for conservationists, naturalists, environmentalists, hunters, and ranchers of our current level of knowledge regarding the mysterious American lion. The strength of this text lies in its analysis of cougar/human interaction and its documentation of cougar attacks on humans in North America. The book is well illustrated, and the anecdotal style makes for good reading. Danz (Of Bison and Man, Univ. of Colorado, 1997) is familiar with American big game; he has worked for the National Park Service and was the first executive director of the American Bison Association. Recommended for larger public libraries or junior college libraries but not suitable for academic research collections because it does not make a strong contribution to original wildlife research.ÄBill T. Johnson, Texas Tech Univ. Lib., Lubbock (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1. Genesis of the Speciesp. 4
Chapter 2. A Cat of Many Namesp. 13
Chapter 3. Characteristics of the Cougarp. 28
Chapter 4. Relationships within the Animal Kingdomp. 65
Chapter 5. The Native American and the Cougarp. 101
Chapter 6. The Cougar Huntersp. 112
Chapter 7. The Vanishing Wildernessp. 143
Chapter 8. Danger to Humansp. 158
Chapter 9. Life in Urban Americap. 180
Chapter 10. The Future of the Cougarp. 199
Appendix A. Distribution and Occurrencep. 211
Appendix B. Reported Human Fatalities from Cougar Attacksp. 226
Appendix C. Reported Cougar Attacks on Humans Not Leading to Human Fatalityp. 242
Bibliographyp. 285
Indexp. 303