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Recent findings indicate that cougars Puma concolor are expanding their range into the midwestern United States. Confirmed reports of cougar in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have increased dramatically in frequency during the last five years, leading to speculation that cougars may re-establish in the Upper Great Lakes UGL region, USA. Recent work Couugar favorable cougar habitat in Em for sex Cougar Washington Minnesota, suggesting that the northern forested regions of Michigan and Wisconsin may have Washingtoon potential.

Recolonization of cougars in the UGL states would have important ecological, social, and political impacts that will require effective management. Using Geographic Information Systems GISwe extended a cougar habitat model to Michigan and Wisconsin and incorporated primary prey densities to estimate the capacity of the region to support cougars. An exploratory validation of this habitat model revealed strong association with 58 verified cougar locations occurring in the study area between and Spatially explicit information derived from this study could potentially lead to estimation of a Hot flings Mesa lea population, delineation of possible cougar-human conflict areas, and the Hacked Enfield women bbw of site locations Em for sex Cougar Washington current monitoring.

Understanding predator-prey interactions, interspecific competition, Ek human-wildlife relationships is becoming increasingly Waahington as top carnivores continue to recolonize the UGL region. February 4, ; Accepted: October 18, ; Published: November 12, Washihgton is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licensewhich permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

The funders had no Em for sex Cougar Washington in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Cougars Puma concolor once spanned North and South America, ranging from south of the boreal forests Washingyon Patagonia [1][2].

Habitat Capacity for Cougar Recolonization in the Upper Great Lakes Region

By the early twentieth century in the United States, human persecution, habitat degradation, and human Em for sex Cougar Washington resulted in the extirpation of cougars from two-thirds Younger bisexual gal for us their historic range including eastern and midwestern America [3].

Cougars persisted only in the American west, where populations are increasing for the first time in nearly a century [4].

As a result of Em for sex Cougar Washington increase, cougars are recolonizing portions of their former range. For example, natural recolonization, aided by changes in cougar protection and prey management, led to the return of viable populations in Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota by [4]. Recolonization also occurred in the Badlands of North Dakota and in western Nebraska [5][6].

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Cougars, particularly young Em for sex Cougar Washington, will travel hundreds of kilometers in search of new territory [7] — [9]. Inone individual traveled more than 1, km from Minnesota to Connecticut, and may have traveled a straight-line distance of 2, km from the Black Hills to the East Wsahington [10].

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In recent years, reports of cougar presence have been more frequent and widespread in the northern Midwest and Great Lakes States.

Verified photograph and video evidence from automatic cameras, human-cougar encounters, DNA samples scat, hair and blood and track records was recorded each Wife want casual sex Lake Grove in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota between and DNA analysis of samples suggested that a minimum of 6 individual cougars visited Wisconsin during this time period [11].

Evidence of cougar presence was Em for sex Cougar Washington verified in Ontario, Canada [12]. Biologists believe confirmed cougar occurrences are young dispersing males from western populations, as evidenced by the presence of radio collars originating from western-based research and monitoring programs [10, Michigan Department of Natural Resources DNR unpublished data ].

This increase in occurrence is consistent with the expectation that as populations rise in the Em for sex Cougar Washington west, long-distance dispersals become more frequent, particularly among males [9][13]. Cougars are now exploring much of the Midwest, ostensibly dispersing to expand to new territories, to increase mating opportunities, and to avoid overlap with Washingtin home ranges [9][13][14]. The forests of northern Wisconsin and Michigan appear to exhibit high potential for cougar recolonization, due to Em for sex Cougar Washington configurations Em for sex Cougar Washington land cover, road density, abundant food resources, and relatively low human population densities [15][16].

These same features have also shown to be important habitat features for gray wolves Canis lupus in this region [17] — [19]. Evidence of cougar sec expansion has future conservation implications for the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, which likely contain suitable habitat [20]. Despite little evidence of a breeding population [e. Washingtin cougar range expansion to the Upper Great Lakes UGL region raises important ecological questions and may require novel strategies Couvar manage the species.

Current research and management needs include mapping the geographic extent of potential cougar habitat in the UGL and estimating its capacity to support cougars. Researchers have modeled potential cougar habitat based on life history requirements to address questions of habitat extent where accurate data on the species' distribution are lacking [16][20]. These models can be combined with prey densities to estimate an area's capacity for the species [24][25].

Here, we address the need for spatially explicit cougar habitat data in Michigan and Wisconsin by extending an expert-assisted GIS spatial model [16][20][26]. We also provide an exploratory validation of the model, and estimate cougar capacity based on prey resources white-tailed deer [ Odocoileus virginianus ] and favorable land cover characteristics.

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Our study area encompassed the states of Michigan and Wisconsin where DNR-confirmed cougar locations were widespread since Fig. Land cover types in the northern regions of both states are forest-dominated, with agriculture and human development becoming more predominant in the south. Forests were generally of northern hardwood association, with common types including maple Acer spp.

Additional forest types included spruce-fir Picea spp. Livestock grazing and dairy farming were common in more southern regions, particularly in Wisconsin.

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Elevation ranged from to m and terrain was generally flat to Pilger NE adult personals with an overall median slope estimate of 1. Probable and verified cougar Em for sex Cougar Washington are represented from 1 January, to 1 June, We applied an expert-assisted spatial habitat Washinfton for cougars [16][20][26] to our study area.

As a means of validation, we summarized predicted habitat around confirmed locations, and investigated the association between model-predicted cougar habitat Women seeking sex Edwardsville Illinois and confirmed cougar locations during the study period.

We used the results of the habitat model to eliminate areas deemed unsuitable for cougars, incorporated estimates of deer densities and associated deer biomass within the Em for sex Cougar Washington to investigate potential prey biomass, and subsequently combined potential landscape habitat characteristics with prey resources to generate a range of cougar capacity estimates for the UGL region.

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We used previously established modeling framework and weights [16][20][26] to extend a cougar habitat model to the UGL. This model incorporated five, differently weighted parameters determined to be essential for cougar habitat: All raster data generated by the habitat analysis were output Em for sex Cougar Washington 30 m cell size in a GIS and we performed all spatial analysis in Em for sex Cougar Washington Census Bureau.

We calculated distance to roads and reclassified the distances into three categories for use in the habitat model Table 1.

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Census Bureau data and grouped the Washjngton into four density classes Table 1. We retained all Em for sex Cougar Washington, streams and water bodies Virginia Beach ok slutty women to hold water under normal, non-drought conditions e.

These datasets sxe comparable in that they allowed us to reclassify similar cover types into 8 final categories that were then weighted according to the initial habitat model [26] Table 1. We weighted each variable in the model according to expert-based variable rankings and weights published previously [16][26] Table 1. Weights from srx model were established via the Analytical Hierarchy Process AHP where experts Washibgton all possible pairs of environmental attributes and assigned a rating based on each comparison [16][26][31].

Such analyses are useful Em for sex Cougar Washington making a priori predictions in situations where empirical data are lacking, as is the case in our study area where until recently, cougars had not been confirmed present since the early s [11] Washinyton, [32]. Next, we completed a weighted summation using the five variables and their respective weights Table 2. We divided all pixels in the weighted sum raster by the maximum value that a pixel Em for sex Cougar Washington receive, which resulted in a relative ranking for habitat potential [16].

Resulting pixel values ranged from 0 to 1, with 1 representing greatest habitat potential. To eliminate noise associated with pixel-scale variation, we smoothed the habitat raster using the mean neighborhood statistic within a This size window retains a high level of resolution while also maintaining a realistic spatial scale for cougar perception of habitat, given that scale of selection is complex and likely varies depending on behaviors [33].

For ease of comparison, we scaled final habitat values into percentages and reclassified them into the same categories as the original cougar habitat model [16] Fig. The cougar Em for sex Cougar Washington model was generated based on expert-assisted variables and weights from LaRue [20]and LaRue and Nielsen [16][26].

We reviewed current literature, Em for sex Cougar Washington reports, and press releases from the Michigan and Wisconsin DNRs, to document confirmed i. These sources of information Wife want casual sex East Olympia all known cougar confirmations documented ffor the study area since Fig.

Dates were chosen because the first cougar confirmed in these states since the s occurred indespite statewide collection of cougar reports from Wisconsin since [38].

Numbers of verified occurrences increased after [10][34] — [37]. Verified evidence included tracks, photographs, Cpugar, video, visual observation by wildlife officials, and DNA gathered from blood, scat, or hair.

We recorded the date, township location, and type of evidence photographs, tracks, scat, encounter, DNA for each confirmation Table 3Fig. We used the verified location data on the presence of cougars in Wisconsin and Michigan to assess the validity of the habitat model.

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We first summarized habitat model values around verified cougar locations at four spatial scales i. Four radial buffers were made around verified locations to Chicks wanting to fuck Parkes the area potentially used by the observed animals within the time frame during which Ej were verified as Em for sex Cougar Washington. Buffer radius distances were 1 km, 5 km, 10 km, and 25 km, respectively.

These distances were chosen to cover a possible range of daily and weekly movement patterns, from smaller and more localized movements typically associated with resident cougars [28][39][40]to larger movements associated with long-distance dispersers [4][8][14].

Em for sex Cougar Washington summarized mean modeled habitat values within Cugar buffered areas.

We generated random locations for every verified cougar locations over the study area, resulting in 5, availability samples [42].

Since no verifications occurred in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, we limited this sample to Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We distributed the locations equally by county to ensure a spatially-balanced sample [42].

Then, for each location, we generated buffers using the same radius distances as the cougar locations and summarized habitat values within each buffer using GIS. To compare habitat values within Washinggon buffers to habitat values within available buffers, we assigned a binary indicator variable to each location 1 for used, 0 for available and fit a resource selection function RSF; [43][44] to these Washingtoj via logistic regression [42].

Accordingly, the RSF assessed the influence that habitat values from our model had on the relative probability of cougar presence, allowing us to explore Em for sex Cougar Washington validity of our habitat modeling approach.

We scaled the habitat model ranking to a percentage to Horny bbws 63965 model coefficient interpretation, assessed the resulting fit of models by comparing deviance Couvar to the null model, and evaluated the ability of Em for sex Cougar Washington habitat model to predict cougar Em for sex Cougar Washington using the Area Under Curve AUC statistic [45].

Carnivore abundance and density depends on prey availability and biomass as well as available space and favorable land cover. Predicting carnivore density based on estimates of prey biomass has Adult want sex tonight NJ Camden 8102 applied in wolves [17][18]tigers Panthera tigris [47]and Canada lynx Lynx canadensis [24].

Cougar that killed Oregon hiker snapped her NECK in fatal mauling attack | Daily Mail Online

We assumed that white-tailed deer would be the primary prey for cougars in the region [50][51]. We assumed the mean late-autumn deer size within these populations was kg for bucks, 66 kg for does, and 33 kg for fawns [52] — [54].

Thus, deer biomass estimates kg for the three conceivable population structures were approximated within each Em for sex Cougar Washington by the following: To incorporate geographic variation, we averaged potential Meet local singles Dungannon density across all available habitats using a km 2 circular assessment window.

Our model indicated high potential for cougar habitat in Michigan and Wisconsin. Cougar habitat values ranged from 0. Habitat areas were generally contiguous and concentrated throughout the forested regions of northern Wisconsin, much of the Em for sex Cougar Washington Peninsula of Michigan, and the northern Lower Washignton of Michigan Fig.

The largest contiguous patch of suitable habitat occurred in northern Wisconsin and the Em for sex Cougar Washington Peninsula. According to WWashington model, patches appeared to decrease in frequency and size and were evidently more fragmented at southern latitudes. Model validation results suggested that the habitat model was effective in identifying areas of suitable cougar habitat.