Eastern Cougar Conference 2004|Richard_F|richard@cfz.org.uk|03/16/04 at 23:35:32|richard_F|xx|0||Eastern Cougar Conference 2004: Wednesday, April 28th - Saturday, May 1st

The program for this special conference in Morgantown, West Virginia is quickly taking shape and promises a diverse array of exciting and meaningful presentations and posters.  It is the only the second such meeting devoted entirely to the fascinating subject of cougars in the East, Southeast, Great Lakes Region and Great Plains of North America.  The gathering is open to anyone with an interest in wildlife, conservation, nature, cougars and related topic, including wildlife professionals, students, professors and lay people.  It is jointly sponsored by the Eastern Cougar Foundation (ECF) and the American Ecological Research Institute (AERIE), which is directed by Dr. Jay Tischendorf of the ECF Board.

This is an incredibly rare and unique opportunity for anyone with an interest in mountain lions east of the Rocky Mountains to gather together, network, and share in literally the latest and most cutting-edge information and technology on this important subject.  The last time was ten years ago.  Those who attend will be monumentally glad they did, and those that donít will regret it for a long time to come.

Chris Bolgiano will give the keynote address.  She is the author of three award-winning books: Mountain Lion: An unnatural history of pumas and people, The Appalachian Forest, and Living in the Appalachian Forest: True Tales of Sustainable Forestry.  She has written dozens of articles on wildlife and the environment, and is now at work on her fourth book, The Eastern Cougar Anthology.

Another highlight will be a talk by David Baron, author of The Beast in the Garden, an informed and sensitive analysis of the events in Boulder, Colorado, that led to the death of a young jogger in 1991.  Baronís talk will be part of the session devoted to Humans Dimensions, the interaction of humans and cougars.  Bolgiano and Baron will both be selling and autographing books.  

Other sessions will include regional updates (including a report from the United Kingdom, where DNA analysis has documented the existence of free-ranging black leopards), techniques for finding and analyzing evidence of cougars, and lessons to be learned from recovery efforts involving other large predators.  Each session will be followed by a panel discussion.  A tracking workshop and tour of the Coopers Rock Mountain Lion Sanctuary are scheduled for Saturday.

The conference will be held at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center and will run from the evening of Wednesday, April 28th to the afternoon of Saturday, May 1st.  Registration fees are $125 for natural resource professionals, scientists and academic faculty; $75 for non-professionals; and $50.00 for students.  A single day (Thursday, Friday or Saturday is $50.00.  A late fee of $25.00 will be added for registrations after March 31st.  We recommend you make motel or campground reservations soon to assure you have a place to stay.

For complete information, visit the Eastern Cougar Foundationís web site, www.easterncougar.org and click on the lower left corner of the Home Page.  There you will find a registration form, schedule of events (subject to last minute changes), information on the tracking workshop, and lists of motels and campgrounds.  If it is not convenient for you to visit the Internet, you may send a check for the appropriate amount made payable to: Eastern Cougar Conference 2004.  Mail it to ECF, c/o PO Box 300, Harman, WV 26270.  Include your name, address, home and business phones, affiliation (if any), and email address.  Let us know if you are a vegetarian or require a special dietary menu.  The registration fee includes an information packet, keynote banquet dinner, lunch on Thursday and Friday, snack breaks, and publication of the proceedings on the Eastern Cougar Foundationís web site.  If you canít find the answers to your questions on the ECF web site, you may call 304-227-4166.


Wednesday, 28 April
6:00-9:00 p.m.---Pre-Meeting Social Hour and Registration (Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar)
Thursday, 29 April
7:00-8:00 a.m.---Continental Breakfast and Registration
8:00-8:15---Welcome and Introductions

Session I: Regional Updates (Moderator: Helen McGinnis, ECF)
8:15-8:45---Prairie Panthers and Midwest Mountain Lions: Jay Tischendorf and Kirk Johnson
8:45-9:15---Distribution of Cougar Sightings in Wisconsin 1994-2001: Eric Anderson et al
9:15-9:45---Preliminary Assessment of Cougar Recovery in Illinois: Clay Nielson
10:15-10:45---Evidence of Cougars in Michigan--A Historical Summary: Pat Rusz
10:45-11:15---Puma Research in Ohio: Bill Reichling
11:45-1:00 p.m.---Lunch
1:00-1:30---A Retrospective Look at US Fish and Wildlife Service Research on the Puma in the Appalachians: Robert Downing
1:30-2:00---Biogeography of Perceived Encounters with Pumas and Other Exotic Cats in South and West Wales, United Kingdom: Alaric Smith et al
2:00-2:30---The Florida panther as a microcosm and lightning rod for puma recovery in the East: William Samuels

Session II: Research Techniques (Moderator: To be determined)
3:00-3:30---Methods for Detecting Pumas in the Great Lakes Region: Pat Rusz
3:30-3:45---Southern Mississippi Field Test of Two Approaches for Determining the Presence of Pumas: Helen McGinnis
3:45-4:00---Leopards in America? Joe Lankalis
4:00-4:30---The Eastern Cougar Network (ECN): Using Science to Assess the Status of Cougars in Eastern North America: Clay Nielson et al
4:30-5:00---Use of Camera "Traps" as a Tool for Wildlife Research: Bob Wilson
5:00-5:30---Panel Discussion (Moderator: Jay Tischendorf)
6:15-8:30---Banquet Dinner and Keynote Address: Chris Bolgiano (The Keynote Address will commence at 7:30 p.m.)

Friday, 30 April
7:00-8:00 a.m.---Continental Breakfast and Registration
8:00-8:15---Day 2 Welcome and Introduction

Session II Continued: Techniques  (Moderator: Robert Downing)
8:15-8:45---Keeping Track: A Template for Community-Centered Conservation and Monitoring: Susan Morse
8:45-9:15---Obtaining Physical Evidence for the Presence of Pumas and Other Exotic Cats in South and West Wales, United Kingdom: Alaric Smith et al
9:15-9:45---Evaluating Puma Reports: Art, Science, Objectivity...and Diplomacy: Jay Tischendorf
9:45-10:30---Poster Session and Break
11:00-11:45---Panel Discussion (Moderator: To be determined)
11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.---Lunch

Session III: Human Dimensions (Moderator: Chris Bolgiano)
1:00-1:30---The Beast in the Garden: David Baron
1:30-2:00---Reducing the Impact of Puma Attack: Jay Tischendorf (for E. Lee Fitzhugh et al)
2:00-2:30---The Cougar Comes Home: Susan Morse
2:30-3:00---Voodoo Science: Tom Carney

Session IV: Predator Parallels (Moderator: To be determined)
3:30-4:00---Eastern Cougar Recovery--Lessons From the Florida Panther: David Maehr et al
4:00-4:30---The National Wildlife Federation's Northeastern Lynx and Wolf Program: Peggy Struhsaker
4:30-5:00---The Jaguar in the Southwest--Implications for Puma Recovery in Eastern North America: Richard Greenwell and Jay Tischendorf
5:00-5:30---Panel Discussion (Moderator: Jay Tischendorf)
5:30-5:45---Symposium Close (Dinner on your own)
7:30-9:30 p.m.---Eastern Cougar Foundation Board of Directors meeting at the Ramada.

Saturday, 1 May
7:00-8:00 a.m.---Continental Breakfast and Registration
8:00-12:00 noon---Wildlife and Puma Tracking Workshop: Nick Wisniewski, Valerie Major, and Jay Tischendorf
12:00-2:00 p.m.---Field Trip to Cooper's Rock Mountain Lion Sanctuary (Bring a lunch and be prepared for any weather conditions)