Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The WCC Goes to the Cats?

The WCC encourages conservation efforts not only for wolves, but for all wild species. This January the WCC lecture series continues with a very special program:

Bringing Back the Ledgend: Cougar Recovery in Eastern North America.
Photo: Spencer Wilhelm

January 10, 2010 - The search for the eastern cougar is one of the great riddles in North American natural history. Despite thousands of sightings from Maine to Mississippi, only a dozen confirmations have emerged east of Chicago during the past generation. Join Christopher Spatz of the Eastern Cougar Foundation (ECF) for a special talk about the behavior, biology and current range of this elusive cat. Spatz will explain why restorations of this magnificent predator are imperative for the recovery of critically declining eastern forests. Guests will also join in a howl while visiting with ambassador wolves- Kaila, Apache, Lukas and Atka.

Pre-registration is required. Click here to register today!


Michael said...

What's a difference between cougars and wolves ?
At the end of February/beginning of Mars I stayed some days at Silver City, driving from Texas to the West Coast. On one of my hikes in the Gila NF I lost the way back by stupidity of me: I looked only for horse tracks and not for my own old tracks, head and heart full of the beautiful view from the viewpoint I had found. After a while (a too long while, haha) fortunately I realized the sun was shining, and with the help of map and watch I could find the beginning of an at this time dry riverbed-canyon, which ends on the S15-lane parallel to Gila river (I hoped so). Because the sun was going down, I walked quite fast, not pathfinder-like along the canyon. Suddenly over my head a hiss, quite strong and deep (no snake). There are only two (?) cats in the wild: bobcat and cougar (the only jaguar was dead or not yet there). Bobcats are very shy (at least lynxes in Europe), possibly more as wolves; it remains a cougar. With a wolf you wouldn't have such a meeting.

Particularly if you hike rarely walked trails, you need a compass together with the map "Gila Wilderness", which you get in the Gila National Forest office at Silver City. By this map I know exactly where I am only at the beginning, ending and crossing of trails, but together with a compass is the map completely sufficient. In addition you will find notes for the behavior in the wild, tip-offs for such situations I was in. Unfortunately I read it at first late in the evening at the Super8, after my mistake.

At the Gila Visitor Center (on the right, crossing the river, short before S15 ends) you can buy ordnance survey maps (Topographic, 1:24,000). Such maps I use at home. With these maps you know "always" where you are, if the trails are correct drew in. The Visitor Center has a big paved parking lot. Here was my starting point for hikes. By car you will need between Silver City and the Center about 1 to 1.5 hours for each direction.

For visitors of the region a last tip-off:
A roundtrip with motor-vehicle from Silver City (NM) to Alpine (AZ) (via F180) and return on the other side of the border through Arizona (F191,S78: small but paved). 10 miles outside Alpine on F191 you see on the left a big "Wolves"-sign. From here could go the way to the point, where was the WCC-Wolf set free (on my trip it has a lot of snow here, but only here). It's a wonderful trip, but you need 10-12 hours and maybe you will be back in Silver City only in the dark. If you can spend more time, you can make an excursion into the Fort Apache (White Mountain)/San Carlos Indian Reservations (lanes not paved, i.e. not for rental cars):
Indian and wolves are belonging together.

Josh said...

Wow. Quite an experience; glad it had a happy ending. I'll bet you were walking faster after hearing the hiss. It's definitely not unheard of for people to have run ins with mountain lions out west. Thanks for the tips - I hope to get out there sometime!

Michael said...

I looked for the hiss, but nothing to see, not a little movement of an animal. Josh, you shouldn't bet against a men who is "from wild cougar bitten".
I mean, if the cougar recovery in Eastern North America is successful, nobody and nothing should hinder in the recovery of the Eastern Wolf.