WATCH: Science has an unusual way to curb deer-related carnage: cougars

Many people consider deer the scourge of the forest- and in the Eastern United States, they’re responsible for more than a million car crashes and over 200 deaths every year. Now a group of scientists have crunched the numbers and discovered a controversial way to drastically reduce the carnage caused by does and stags. Bring back the cougar.

A new scientific study published in the journal “Conservation Letters” shows how if cougars repopulated a native area across 19 states, over the course of 30 years, it could prevent 155 deaths, 21,400 injuries, and save $2.3 billion with the prevention of deer-vehicle collisions.

Impressive. But at least deer are herbivores. Cougars can actually kill humans without the involvement of a sports utility vehicle. But these practical scientists reason that, statistically, cougars would kill less than one person every year. The lives saved from preventing crashes on the road would far outnumber those lost in a nightmarish mauling in the woods.

Now, the wildlife scientists aren’t actually calling for a human-engineered reintroduction of cougars into areas overrun with deer, but it’s entirely possible that the cougars could return on their own to re-balance the ecosystem. Over the past few decades cougars have come back to parts of the Midwest and a few have appeared in the East. 

Livestock and pets would be at greater risk- but that’s all part of the circle of life.