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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Always brings a smile to my face when we see our Pumas and Wolves "pushing the edge of the envelope" against all odds and attempting to colonize their historical haunts across the USA.................Illinois has a 4th confirmed sighting of a Puma (4th since 1880!) in central Illinois near Literberry.................No commentary on whether it was a male or female,,,,,with the likelihood being a dispersing male out of the Black Hills, South Dakota...........It is unfortunate that at this time, Pumas can be killed on sight in "The Land of Lincoln" as they are considered extinct in the state and are not listed as game animals with posted seasons---All of you in Illinois should petition your Governor and Game Commision to change that ruling to one of "Protected Status"

4th Confirmed Sighting of a Puma in Illinois in the past 130 Years!!!!

 A cougar walks past a deer hunter's trail camera early Sunday in Morgan County. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources confirmed the authenticity of the photo Monday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Mark Cobb.

 SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources confirmed Monday that a trail camera photo snapped in Morgan County is indeed that of a cougar. The photo marks only the fourth confirmed Illinois sighting of a cougar – also known as a mountain lion, panther, puma or catamount – since the cats were driven from Illinois in the 1870s.

Mark Cobb, who hunts on property north of Jacksonville near Literberry, captured the cougar on his trail camera, a motion-sensitive camera used by hunters to keep an eye on the movements of deer in their hunting areas.

“Sunday afternoon, I got the SD cards out of the cameras and was sitting at my sister’s kitchen counter and was checking them out,” Cobb said. “I just kind of went, ‘Oh, my God,’ and everybody thought I had a big deer on there.” DNR wildlife biologist Mike Chandler visited the site Monday afternoon and verified the location where the picture was taken. The picture clearly shows the big cat walking past a camera set up along a trail through a wooded area.

Cougars once roamed most of the lower 48 states, but for much of the past century have been restricted to the mountain west. Today, stories of young males wandering east and south from the Dakotas to states like Nebraska, Iowa or Missouri are relatively common. Missouri regularly reports cougar sightings, although conservation officials in Missouri say no known breeding populations have been established.

In 2011, a young male from the Black Hills of South Dakota made it as far as Connecticut.Cougars can range great distances, but Bob Bluett, furbearer biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said it is impossible to say if the Morgan County cat is still around. “Most likely it will move on, but these animals are so few and far between no one could know what their habits are,” he said.

Cougars prey most often on deer. Cobb said it was a shock to learn the cougar was so close by. Cobb lives in Sherman, but his mother and sister live in houses within walking distance of the trail where the cougar was photographed. “I had this uneasy feeling in my gut when I realized something that big and potentially dangerous was walking around that close to us,” he said.

Cougars are nocturnal and generally stay away from people. Still, Cobb said his 12-year-old son didn’t want to go out hunting with him after learning about the cougar Speculation about cougars and their presence in Illinois is fairly common among hunters and other outdoorsmen.“It’s kind of cool,” Cobb said of having photographed a cougar. “Everybody hears the rumors, but not very many people have seen one.”

Because there is no breeding population in the state, cougars are not listed as a protected species, as are gray wolves, bobcats and other mammals not governed by hunting seasons in Illinois. Chandler said DNR wants hunters in the area to report any additional sightings and send in any trail camera photos that might show a cougar. “If they get pictures, call us,” Chandler said. “We want to know.”

Mountain lions
“Mountain lion,” “cougar,” “puma,” “catamount” and “panther” all are names for the same animal: Puma concolor.

According to the website Living with Wildlife in Illinois, domestic dogs and bobcats are most likely to be misidentified as mountain lions. Bobcats weigh 10 to 40 pounds. Adult female cougars weigh 80 to 110 pounds, while males range from 130 to 160 pounds, according to The Cougar Network.

Mountain lions once were found throughout the United States. Conversion of prairies to agriculture, logging of forests, elimination of prey species like white-tailed deer and predator-reduction programs led to their extirpation from Illinois by the 1870s.


Cougars in Illinois ---Previous confirmed sightings

Chicago - 2008
Mercer County - 2004
Randolph County - 2000

Missouri has had 33 confirmed reports since 1994

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