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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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Friday, November 16, 2012

While South Dakota Wildlife Officials continue to accelerate the number of Pumas that can be killed by hunters annually, this most eastern reservoir of our "Ghost Cat" continues to be a launching pad for pioneer male cats seeking new territories in Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and other midwestern states............Over the past two months, 4 confirmed sightings of Pumas have been confirmed through trailcam photos in Illinois............Another recent Puma sighting was confirmed by Conservation Officials in Kansas, which has seen more and more Puma sightings since 2007 after an absence from the state for more than 100 years.................Shout out to South Dakota Officials--STOP SHOOTING PUMAS---give them half a chance to recolonize their former riverine haunts throughout the midwest; which if accomplished could lead to natural migration into the deer infested forests east of the Mississippi River

2 more cougar sightings confirmed in central Illinois

All four of Illinois' confirmed cougar sightings this fall: Clockwise from top left: Jo Daviess County, Morgan County, Pike County and Calhoun County. Photos courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Brett Charlton and Mark Cobb.

Two more cougar sightings have been confirmed in Pike and Calhoun counties, bringing the total to four confirmed sightings in Illinois in the past two months.Included is one near Literberry, north of Jacksonville in Morgan County, on Oct. 28. No one can say for sure if the sightings are of the same cat or more than one.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Tim Krumwiede verified the authenticity of the most recent trail camera photos, which were taken Nov. 6 in Pike County and Nov. 9 in Calhoun County. Both counties border the Mississippi River in west-central Illinois.
Krumwiede met with both landowners, looked at the photos on the cameras' memory cards and in Calhoun County verified the site where the photo was taken."I'd bet everything I own on their authenticity," he said. "They were two good photos — no-doubters." The four sightings this fall more than double the previous three verified cougar sightings in Illinois since the 1870s.

Cougars, also known as mountain lions, panthers, catamounts, painters and pumas, once ranged across most of the lower 48 states, but were driven out of Illinois more than a century ago.
Eureka high school teacher and coach Brett Charlton captured a field-guide-quality photo of a cougar on one of the four trail cameras he uses to monitor wildlife on hunting property he owns in Pike County.

"We pulled all four cards and went back to the camper Friday night (to review them) and that one popped up," he said. "We were looking at (the picture) in our camper and I said, 'Surely, I'm not seeing things, but sure looks like it's a mountain lion.'"

Charlton said stories have circulated in the area about cougars."The neighbor said he's seen a black panther in our creek bottom," he said. "I kind of blew it off because I thought it was just another story."Krumwiede said the cougar image in northern Calhoun County was taken near an entrance road where the landowner was having trouble with vandalism. Ironically, the photo was taken on a road named Wildcat Hollow, not far from Panther Creek. "He may have found a home from many, many years ago," Krumwiede said.

The images all were captured at night, long after hunters should be out of the woods, but Krumwiede said DNR wants to hear from hunters who think they've seen cougars.

Attacks by cougars are rare. About 25 people have been killed by cougars in the United States over the past century, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Missouri has more experience with cougars, having documented 35 sightings since 1994. An article, "Living with Large Carnivores," is available on the Missouri agency's website.

According to the article, anyone who encounters a cougar is advised to maintain eye contact, raise arms to look bigger and back away slowly. Pick up dogs and children so they are not tempted to run.
Cougars that roam long distances are likely to be young males looking for mates.


Mountain Lion confirmed in Stafford County, Kansas

A trail camera photo has lead to the recent confirmation of a mountain lion in Stafford County. A Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism press release said the camera had been set by a deer hunter, who was justifiably surprised to see the cat. No photo was provided with the press release. Biologists visited the scene to check for things like tracks, droppings and to compare the size of the animal in the photo to surround landmarks.

This is the ninth time a mountain lion has been confirmed in Kansas in modern times. After an absence of about 100 years, one was shot by a rancher in Barber County in 2007. Since, they've been verified by tracks, photos taken by a hunter and several times by trail cameras.

Biologists als0 tracked a cat with a GPS collar from Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, to northwest Kansas, down to southwest Kansas and into central New Mexico a few years ago.
Despite rural legend, the state has not been releasing mountain lions to control the deer population for several years, nor has a reproducing population been documented in the midwest, except for the Black Hills of South Dakota and northern Nebraska.

confirmed Kansas Puma- snapped by trail cam in 2009

Most mountain lions found in places like Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma are usually young males out searching for their own territory. Such cats from the Black Hills have shown up as far east as Connecticut.

Mountain lion biologists in Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska have long said the big predators will be easily documented when they do move into Kansas. They estimate about 10 percent of an areas's population are killed annually as road-kills or have to be destroyed for threatening livestock or moving into towns and cities. They also said the use of thousands of trail cameras placed by deer hunters are also great ways of confirming a visiting mountain lion.

The Cougar Network, a group that studies the expansion of mountain lions eastward from the Rockies, has rated most of Kansas as very poor mountain lion habitat. Though food such as deer, raccoons, dogs and house cats is abundant, they say proper denning areas are extremely rare over most of the state.

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