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Mountain Lion

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November 9th 2004

Mountain Lions Have Returned: Can We Make Room For Them?

By Jacob Kay

Specific Purpose Statement: To persuade my audience that mountain lions are in trouble, and that we need to address their current situation, and help where it is needed.

Thesis: Societies are increasingly endangering cougar's lives as well as their own by continuously infringing more and more on their territory.


I. (Attention Getter) On January 8th 2004, a female bike rider was attacked by a mountain lion who proceeded to drag her off by the head while another bike rider relentlessly tugged on her legs.

A. Eventually, the cougar let go, but not before severely injuring the woman.

B. As a search crew was looking for the cougar later that day, they happened across another victim of a mountain lion, only he had already been killed.

II. (Reveal Topic)This attack, which occurred at Whiting Ranch Park in Orange County has become all too common in Southern California, as well as throughout the Western United States.

III. (Establish Credibility) I have been interested in mountain lions for many years and felt it necessary that I research and look into this dilemma that effects so much of the environment.

IV. (Thesis) The solution to this problem as usual is not the creature itself, but us, humans. Societies are increasingly endangering cougar's lives as well as their own by continuously infringing more and more on their territory. Unfortunately, our society has chosen to lay the guilt on these cats, instituting recreational hunting seasons, in nearly every state holding a puma population.


I. (Problem/info)Mountain lions are very unique and individual animals with many interesting characteristics.

A. The scientifically named Puma Concolor goes by any of five names, Mountain Lion, Cougar, Puma, Panther, and Catamount.

B. This species is extremely solitary, and has always been known to avoid contact with humans.

1. Cougars are predators who need every bit of their ability to be functioning in order to catch food, and survive.

2. They know this, and are careful in picking their prey, as to which is the most defenseless, for they can not risk an injury that could potentially enable them to hunt, resulting in a long, excruciating death.

3. They are extremely intelligent, and after stalking a person for some time, will realize that although the percentages are in their favor, the risk is higher, as humans are more capable of defending themselves.

4. Hence Cougars tend not to attack humans.

I. (cause/Info)Although mountain lions rarely attack people, when they do the whole world seems to go into a state of chaos, and these animals become America's most wanted.

A. The fact of the matter is, according to Paul Beier, a wildlife professor at Northern Arizona, over the last 15 years, there have only been 75 attacks and 11 deaths in the USA and Canada.

1. In Colorado alone, there were only 2 deaths.

2. In this same time period over 4,000 people died in traffic accidents, including 800 pedestrians.

3. You are 2,000 times more likely to be killed by your car or somebody elses, than by a mountain lion.

4. On the same note, you are ten times more likely to be killed by the family dog or your neighbor's dog.

(Transition) Mountain lions are not blood crazed monsters looking to kill, but as we expand into their territory which is extremely broad, more encounters become imminent.

I. (problem/info)Cougars are some of the most hardiest animals on the earth.

A. They can survive anywhere from the ice cold tundra of Canada, to the Florida Swamps, and all the way down to the tropical jungles in South America.

1. They have survived terrible droughts, famines, and other natural environmental disasters, as well as the most recent problem, humans.

B. Once thought to be endangered, even extinct in many areas, mountain lions have made a strong comeback throughout the United States and Canada after bountied hunting was banned in the 1960's according to Bay Area Big Cats.

1. As a result of additional policies to protect and manage lion populations, increases in the numbers of these predators have resulted in more damage complaints and human encounters.

2. A recent estimate by wildlife ecologists puts lion numbers at more than 31,000 in 12 Western states.

3. This number may be more mountain lions in the West than there were before European settlement according to Maurice Hornocker, a senior scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

4. (Transition) States such as California estimate lion populations which were as low as 600 are now closer to 6,000. Oregon too, has come up with similar numbers. This leads to a problem.

I. (Cause)The Cat Specialist Group claims that an adult male cougar's territory ranges any where from 20 to 200 square miles but most often is between 100 and 150.

A. As cougars are mostly solitary, and quite terrritorial, they don't live within one another's area.

1. As the population grows, mountain lions are forced to spread towards more urban areas. These urban areas are growing many times faster than cougar populations, and into their territory as well, leading to increased sightings and encounters.

2. (Transition) This could be a reason why people think hunting pumas should be allowed, to control the population, but in reality, it is us we need to hold in check.

I. (Cause) A most rapidly expanding location is the Santa Ana area in Southern California.

A. There used to be a healthy cougar population there as well.

1. Dean Miller's book, "Cat Attacks", claims researchers managed to collar 32 cougars and do comprehensive research on them for 5 years. The result was surprising to all.

2. The Santa Ana cougars that had seemed to be ever present were actually dying, and humans



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