"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."
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.
Harold P. Danz is the author of Of Bison and Man. He makes his home in Chandler, Arizona.