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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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Saturday, February 16, 2013

39 Puma sightings in Missouri since 1994 with the most recent confirmed lion seen on Feb 2 in the Peck Ranch Conservation reuge in Carter and Shannon counties in the southwest part of the state(the Ozark foothills)..........Previous Missouri prospecting male Pumas have come from South Dakota, Colorado and Montana...........Thus far, all of the cats have been young males seeking females that are just not present in the "Show-Me-State"

Trail camera photographs mountain lion at conservation area


The Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed the sighting of another mountain lion earlier this month, bringing the number of confirmed sightings in the state to 39 since 1994.
The latest verification comes from a photo taken Feb. 2 in the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, a wildlife refuge operated by the department in portions of Carter and Shannon counties.

"The presence of that mountain lion was documented by a trail-cam photo," said Candice Davis, spokeswoman for the department's Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau. "That's the best evidence we can get."

An elk calf carcass bearing signs of a mountain lion attack also was found. Conservation officials started bringing elk into Peck Ranch as part of an elk restoration effort that began in 2011.

According to information on the department's website, three counties in Southeast Missouri have the state's highest number of confirmed mountain lion sightings. Shannon County leads with six, Reynolds County has five and Carter County has four. The confirmations there and in 20 other counties across the state have been exclusively of the sub-adult male of the species, which may provide a clue as to why the mountain lions are finding their way to Missouri.

"It's their nature to take off," said Jeff Beringer, a resource scientist at the conservation department and the chairman of the agency's Mountain Lion Response Team. "The sub-adult male is known to go a long way from home in search of food or a mate, particularly if there is competition in their native habitat that forces them to do so."

To determine where the mountain lions are coming from, Beringer said hair and other samples that mountain lions in Missouri have left behind were identified in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's DNA databank.

"We found matches with mountain lion families in South Dakota, Montana and Colorado," he said. "They've come a long way." Beringer feels a possible reason for the higher number of verified mountain lion sightings in Southeast Missouri is the region's topography."If I was a mountain lion, that's where I'd go," he said. "The Ozark foothills provide a remote habitat that is conducive to a mountain lion's way of life."

With the lack of female mountain lions, there is no evidence of a breeding population in Missouri. But Beringer thinks it's possible that females could enter the state in coming years.

"Nebraska went from having no confirmed mountain lions to a breeding population in 10 years," he said.
Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are naturally shy of humans and generally pose little danger to people, even in states with thriving breeding populations. Although mountain lions are protected by law, Missouri's Wildlife Code allows people to protect themselves and their property if they are threatened.

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