Description: Adding a cougar to the game would add a new challenge for the players. Cougars would attack the pups, compete for food by stealing fresh elk carcasses and hunting the weakest elk in a herd, and attacking you if you get too close. Cougars would have to be chased off to defend your pups. They would be challenging to chase off because they are fast, and could injure a wolf with low health very badly, or kill him. A wolf would be able to chase off a cougar by chasing him away from the pups, and biting him three times when the cougar is far enough away from the pups. If the cougar is not far enough away from the pups when you chase it off, it would return, and you would have to chase it away again. Cougars would also just roam around and look for fresh carcasses to eat or elk to kill, making an encounter with a roaming cougar dangerous. It would attack you if you got too close because it was hungry. You would have to run away from the cougar for a certain distance to escape or fight back and bite the cougar 3 times. Or your wolf could howl to scare off a roaming cougar before it attacks. Fighting would be more dangerous for weak wolves, and running would be more dangerous for slow wolves. If a wolf that is running away is caught by a cougar, the wolf must fight the cougar or the cougar will kill the wolf. If a cougar took over an unguarded elk carcass, you would only have to bite it three times before it would run away. The cougar would not leave the carcass even if you tried to chase it away by running at it. It would claw you, and then continue eating. If a cougar attacked the weakest elk in the herd, it would kill the elk, and you would have the option of chasing another elk, or challenging the cougar for its kill. Cougars would also climb trees to guard their kills, making it dangerous to approach some carcasses. If a cougar was hiding in a tree and you approached a guarded carcass, the cougar would jump down and attack you.
Cougars would make WolfQuest more educational because wolves would encounter cougars in the wild, and cougars would attack wolf pups. On Globio.org’s article on wolves (http://www.globio.org/glossopedia/article.aspx?art_id=66) it states the following: “Wolves will not put up with coyotes or cougars in their territory. Coyotes and cougars are a danger to wolf pups. To protect their young and their territory, wolves will attack and kill cougar cubs and even adult cougars.” Cougars would compete for carcasses in the wild. On page 92 of the book Cougar! by Harold P. Danz, we find the following encounter documented by Thomas Nuttall in 1819 between a wolf and a cougar: “Panthers (meaning cougars) are said to be abundant in the woods of the Red river, nor are they uncommon on the banks of the Arkansas. A somewhat curious anecdote of one of these animals was related to me by my guide. A party of hunters in the morning missed one of their dogs from the encampment, and after a fruitless search were proceeding on their route, when one of the other dogs obtaining a scent, discovered to the hunters, dead beneath a tree, the dog which had strayed, together with a deer and a wolf in the same condition. It appeared that the panther, having killed a deer, and eaten its fill, got into a tree to watch the remainder, and had, in its own defense, successively fallen upon the wolf and the dog as intruders on his provision.” The same book also states on pages 88-89: “An adult cougar is physically superior to any wild or domestic member of the dog family in America, yet it will usually flee from a single barking dog nearly as quickly as it would from an obstreperous pack. One theory, often expressed, is that cougars flee from a barking dog because of an instinctive, ancestral fear of voracious wolf packs… Perhaps it is because the cougar operates in such a surreptitious manner that it dislikes the clamoring pronouncements the wolves make of their presence. Whatever the reason, if the dog doesn’t bark the cougar is not inclined to flee, and is likely to dispose of the dog quickly.” This fear of wolves mentioned in the book would make it legitimate that wolves could chase off cougars. This would provide an opportunity to show how wolves would react to a cougar, reinforcing WolfQuest’s goal of teaching wolf behavior and ecology.
Cougars would present more of a challenge to players because they would attack wolves. Unlike the bears, which don’t attack you until you attack them, a roaming cougar would attack wolves looking for food, moving their pups, or just traveling around the game world. Players would have to watch out for cougars that were roaming because the cougars would attack them, unlike the bears.