Saturday, June 23, 2012


During the past century cougars were primarily restricted to the west of the Rockies. In the early 19th century state sponsored bounties were enacted to protect livestock (and supposedly humans) which led to these amazing animals' extermination in the east and Midwest. Things started looking better for big cats in the 60's and 70's, when one-by-one, bounties were lifted and states made cougars a managed game species. (Check out this informative timeline.)

Earlier this month The Journal of Wildlife Management published research confirming locations of cougars collected from 1990-2008 in 14 states and provinces of Midwestern North America. Breeding populations were established in South Dakota in the 90's then the Badlands and Nebraska in the following decade -- The animals appear to have continued their eastward spread from those three locations.  Some of you may have seen my post from last year when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the eastern cougar extinct.  However, this research gives me hope that one day cougars will recolonize the east.  Just remember, keep them wild!


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