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Town joins call to put pumas on MNR list

Posted October 19, 2005

In today's lingo, a cougar is an older woman with a taste for younger men. In the real sense, the puma, also known as a cougar or mountain lion, is a fast and fierce meat eating predator, cited recently for killing a horse in Oro-Medonte, north of Barrie.

That council's resolution being circulated for province-wide support, states Oro-Medonte denied a farmer's claim for compensation on September 14, because the animal was reportedly a puma. And a puma kill is not on the compensation list.

Municipalities with a farming community, as regulated by the Minstry of Agriculture and Food, provide compensation to its farmers who can prove their livestock was killed by wildlife. Currently that includes wolves, coyotes and bears.

"(T)he Township of Oro-Medonte requests that the Ministry of Natural Resources recognize the threat of predation to livestock by cougars/pumas within Ontario," according to the motion, supported Monday night by New Tecumseth council.

It seeks to spur the MNR to "initiate a program of compensation for livestock owners for predation by these wild animals within Ontario."

According to the Ontario Puma Foundation (OPF), established "to protect large wilderness tracts to allow Pumas to roam uninhibited and encourage the protection of habitat for existing Puma populations in the province of Ontario." The male Puma, according to its web site, has a range of 150 to 1,000 sq kms while the female may have a range of only 65 to 500 - ranges overlap.

"The Puma walks on its toes, has padded feet, and webbing and hair between its toes creating a stealth hunter. It also has large temporalis and masseter muscles along with large canine teeth to sever the spinal cord of its prey. Further back in the mouth the Puma has sharp carnassial teeth which enable it to sheer off large chunks of meat which it swallows whole. The Ontario Puma will prey on white-tailed deer, moose, woodland caribou, beaver, hare, rabbit, grouse, skunk, woodchuck, and for experienced Pumas, porcupine."

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