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February 5, 2012


[Entirely Off Topic] Extinct? Cougar sightings on the rise in eastern United States

Generally speaking, I’m with the “non-extinct” group for various reasons, just as I believe the reported sightings of “black panthers” [black versions of big cats] in South Carolina.  From the Daily Mail, where there is more:

Endangered species specialist Mark McCollough, who works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Maine, was the lead scientist in the agency’s study declaring the cougar extinct.

He told msnbc.com that there is no scientific evidence that Eastern cougars have survived 150 years after being driven from the region.

He added that the last known real eastern cougar was shot dead in 1938 in Maine.


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18 comments

Deer hunting season in Mississippi has just ended, and my home county is crawling with deer.  I see them in my backyard and on the side of four-lane and two-lane highways all the time.  They are a road hazard.
The article suggests that a reintroduction of cougars would bring the deer population under control.  However, I pause at the idea of a cougar in my backyard.  LOL!

[1] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 2-5-2012 at 02:19 PM · [top]

There were reportedly one or two at the Country Club this weekend.

[2] Posted by David Keller on 2-5-2012 at 03:59 PM · [top]

The harvest in South Dakota is going slowly.  The season is 70 lions or 50 females, whichever comes first.  Only about half that have been taken through 5 weeks of hunting. 

It’s been a dry winter and the lack of snow in the Black Hills makes tracking the cats impossible, as well as providing them plenty of perfect brown grass camouflage.

Just got back from a four day hunt - found some old tracks but never saw a mountain lion… if they were around, they saw us first and did not present as targets.

[3] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-5-2012 at 04:23 PM · [top]

We had a mountain lion spotted last year in Santa Fe; reportedly spotted some of his tracks were seen at my daughter’s high school.

He was eventually found up a tree in the neighborhood.  The homeowner called animal control, who put the creature to sleep with a dart gun and returned him to the Sangre de Cristos.

I understand that coyotes are making a comeback all over the country as well.  We have always heard them occasionally at night, but rarely see them.  My wife encountered one behind our house a couple of years ago, walking our two hor-d’ouerve-size dogs.  She gave him a stare and a shout and he took off.  But we keep the backyard fence mended, and have always been hesitant about getting a cat, since they won’t stay home, and are decidedly on the coyote menu.

It is wonderful to still have a few wild creatures around, but they do have to be treated with care.

[4] Posted by rick allen on 2-5-2012 at 04:25 PM · [top]

Have they mention Big-Foot?

[5] Posted by FrVan on 2-5-2012 at 04:36 PM · [top]

cool smile I find the posting of this article to be disrespectful towards women (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/cougar-mascot-vetoed-for-_n_1218779.html) and am shocked that you would impugn an entire segment of womanhood.

[6] Posted by Daniel on 2-5-2012 at 04:43 PM · [top]

My friends, who live in the De Luz hills just west of Temecula Ca., had a cougar on their property but had no idea of its presence until they had some trees thinned.  It had a nest right next to a staircase that we all used almost daily.  As far as coyotes are concerned—Jenny bar the door.  They patrol my subdivision at will.  Anyone who leaves a cat or small dog outdoors is just providing a coyote meal.  I have had close encounters with coyotes on my morning walks with my Greyhound and Scottish Deerhound/Greyhound mix.  There is typically a staring match after which the coyote turns and trots away.  I’d much rather encounter a coyote than an unleashed dog, who nearly always spells trouble.

[7] Posted by Judith L on 2-5-2012 at 07:05 PM · [top]

There have been reports of mountain lions in the Adirondacks in recent years, and that’s where I came from originally (we’ve had a family camp on Piseco Lake near Speculator until recently), but so far, these reports have benn essentially unsubstantiated, though one does indeed need to be very careful when in this forest.  There are rugged peaks in those mountains, the deer herd is huge, and that’s where one is likely to find these cats.

[8] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-5-2012 at 09:52 PM · [top]

Fr Van,

Bigfoot is a man in a hairy suit - MacGyver caught him…!

[9] Posted by MichaelA on 2-5-2012 at 10:22 PM · [top]

I had hoped that an extensive study conducted years ago in the Smoky Mountain area would produce some evidence of a surviving cougar population, but after reading the reports I am convinced that the Eastern Cougar no longer resides in this area. Most sightings are apparently of large bobcats. The deforesting of what is now the Park in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coupled with a shoot on site policy by most residents, apparently did them in.  An effort to reintroduce a wolf population in the Smokies failed as well.

[10] Posted by Going Home on 2-5-2012 at 11:27 PM · [top]

We have seen coyotes, cougars and bobcats in our neighborhood in Allen, TX.  We are not in the boonies but in the suburbs.

[11] Posted by B. Hunter on 2-5-2012 at 11:30 PM · [top]

Mountain lions are protected in CA. Five of us walking in the foothills above San Dimas had two mountain lions following us on Christmas day about 5 years ago. When we turned around, they walked away. I saw one while I was running with a group in Woodward Park here in Fresno down by the San Joaquin River. The deer are disappearing and we are the next in the food chain.

[12] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-6-2012 at 12:34 AM · [top]

Fr. Dale - just before I moved out of SoCal in 2004, a mountain lion killed a mountain biker and attacked a second before the Sheriffs finally found and shot it.  Hunting is a way of maintaining balance between the predators and prey - the alternative is starvation for whichever group achieves overpopulation or the predators moving on to alternative food sources - like neighborhoods with pets and people.

[13] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-6-2012 at 07:52 AM · [top]

#13. Timothy Fountain,
The top predator in California was hunted to extinction in California. The Grizzly Bear probably should not be reintroduced here because of National Park policy. In Yellowstone a mother Grizzly killed a hiker and was allowed to live because it was determined that she was protecting her cubs. We have gone from hunting these magnificent predators to extinction to a protection policy that is dangerous to humans. In Yellowstone Grizzly’s are not even on the threatened species list so that human and bear interaction is on the increase and more human deaths are inevitable. There is a great deal of misplaced sympathy for mountain lions and when a fellow ultrarunner Barbara Schoener was killed by a mountain lion near Cool California, more money was donated to the orphaned cubs when the lion that attacked her was killed, than Barbara’s family. There is a radical fringe who believe the national parks are game preserves and people are intruders yet the national parks were set aside for humans not just the wildlife.

[14] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-6-2012 at 08:21 AM · [top]

People need to remember that when developers move into wildlife habitat, cougars and other predators will still be there for a while, and since that’s the case, they, their children, and their pets are seen as potential prey.  A cougar will chase and attack anything that moves.  Before I became disabled, I carried a firearm (.30 cal rifle, 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot, or a .44 cal pistol) when I was in the back country.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

[15] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-6-2012 at 10:39 AM · [top]

And for those who would carry these weapons, make sure you’re proficient in their use….that proficiency could save your life or those of others.

[16] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-6-2012 at 10:46 AM · [top]

Actually, #14, in speaking to the area wildlife managers they state that many of these animals are actually migrating and are followig the creek line vs. being displaced.

[17] Posted by B. Hunter on 2-6-2012 at 04:51 PM · [top]

#16, well said.

[18] Posted by MichaelA on 2-6-2012 at 04:51 PM · [top]

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