Gilbert and her team examined some other factors to see if it looked like there really was an overall benefit:
To determine whether the presence of cougars is a net benefit to society if they were present in the east, Gilbert and her team then considered other factors beyond vehicle collisions, such as a reduction in the damage done to agriculture and landscaping by deer, and the potential costs of cougars attacking livestock and humans. They calculated that the benefits of restored cougar populations outweighed costs by 30 to 1. “There will be a benefit” if cougars return to the East Coast, Gilbert said.
And we might add that a 30 to 1 benefit seems very worth it, even when other factors are considered that the study couldn’t include, such as hunting, attacks on pets, and potential changes in the transmission of deer-borne disease like Lyme disease.
Head on over to the very informative and eye-opening article on the Science News site for the full details: “Cougars may provide a net benefit to humans”
Photo Credit: GREG HUME/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS (CC-BY-SA 3.0)