Cougars are great gardeners

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🌱 Discover the Hidden Role of Top-Level Predators in Ecosystems 🐾

Today, we’re delving into a fascinating ecological tale that might change the way you see apex predators. Did you know that large hypercarnivorous felids, so meat-loving big cats like cougars, are more than just top-tier predators?

🦁 These majestic creatures, with their strictly carnivorous diet, are now known for a surprising twist: seed dispersal! Research reveals that cougars could be effective secondary long-distance seed dispersers, impacting plant populations in unexpected ways.

🌿Cougars accidentally ingest and disseminate significant quantities of seeds from plants consumed by their primary prey, the Eared Dove. In fact, they’ve been found to spread as many as ~5,000 seeds per km2 annually!

🌱🌍 What does this mean for ecosystems? It’s an exciting revelation that highlights the intricate interconnections within nature. Secondary long-distance seed dispersal can lead to the colonization of new areas, maintaining gene flow between plant populations, and supporting the health of plant communities.

🤓 So, if you’re intrigued by the hidden ecological roles of these hypercarnivorous apex predators and how they impact plant life, this is your chance to get connected and join us for a better resource use. 🤝

Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-one-cougar-can-plant-94000-seeds-a-year  

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