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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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Thursday, February 5, 2015

We know for certain that there exists small breeding populations of Pumas in the USA in the Big Bend State Park in West Texas as well as in the Dakota and Nebraska........Our best information coming from COUGAR REWILDING, THE COUGAR NETWORK as well as state and federal biologists suggest that outside of the 100 Pumas locked into southern Florida, there is no other breeding colonies east of West Texas.............Arkansas and Oklahoma have both seen an uptick in confirmed adult Puma sighting over the past few years but no confirmed sightings of mother cats and cubs.............Below is an array of recent articles and peer reviewed papers portraying what the evidence suggests to date on Puma rewilding in the RAZORBACK STATE

Game and Fish says Mountain Lions are in Arkansas but aren't breeding

Posted: Nov 25, 2013 7:47 PM PSTUpdated: Nov 27, 2013 7:21 AM PST

(KATV) Many have claimed to have mountain lion encounters over the years and much to their dismay were told it was probably another cat or something else. But now the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says mountain lions are in Arkansas. But the biggest controversy with is no longer if mountain lions are here, but if they are reproducing.
David Goad, who represents the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says they know mountain lions are in Arkansas
"We've had another confirmed sighting or two around the last couple of months, so we believe they're here," Goad said.
The issue with the Arkansas Game and Fish is not whether mountain lions are in Arkansas, but if they are actually breeding.
"There's just no evidence of it. We don't get pictures of cubs. We do have people say they've seen cubs," Goad said.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission contracted with experts out of Texas several years ago, who brought dogs to search for evidence of breeding.
"They essentially wrote a report and it said there's no evidence of a breeding population. So, but that doesn't mean there's not mountain lions here and in fact we know there are," Goad said.
Tanya Smith, the president of the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, which houses many mountain lions says in her opinion there's no way these cats aren't breeding.

"Well if there are wild mountain lions, it does make sense to me they would be connecting because when the female goes into heat, it's very loud and vocal and they're going to find each other if there's a female anywhere around," Smith said.
George Butler of Eureka Springs says he and his wife have seen a female mountain lion and a cub.
"We sat here and watched it and watched the young one come and raised up out of the grass and go so far and come back down. And it was following its mamma because we had just seen the mamma go out of the grass," Butler said. 
But the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission insists that they need photographic or other proof.
"It's just like anything else, we're biologists, I'm a biologist and good scientist is going to try to figure out if the breeding is for sure taking place," Goad said. "Until we get evidence of cubs and reproduction, our stance is going to be the same that they are here, but there is not a breeding population."

The Puma was found statewide, but was probably more numerous in the remote upland regions of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains. The panther was the terror of settlers, and many stories, probably exaggerated, were told of harrowing experiences of cat encounters (Holder, 1951; Thomas, 1972; Allen, 1989a; Sutton, 1998). By 1900, most mountain lions had been killed or driven to remote areas, and it was thought that by 1920 they had been extirpated from the state.

 In addition to hunting pressure, the reduction of the white-tailed deer herd (which had dwindled to less than 300 animals) may also have played a role in the decrease of the mountain lion (Young and Goldman, 1946). Due to restoration projects, the deer population had increased by the late 1940s, and soon after ward a mountain lion was killed in Montgomery County (Sealander, 1951).

 In the 1950s and 1960s, sightings and observations of sign increased (Lewis, 1969, 1970), and a second animal was killed in Ashley County (Noble, 1971). Sealander and Gipson (1973) summarized 63 mountain lion records from 1945 to 1972 and concluded that due to the increasing deer population, a small population of mountain lions existed in the state. 

The last mountain lion killedin the state was in Logan County in 1975 (Sutton, 1998). McBride et al. (1993) concluded there were no reproducing lions in the state after conducting an extensive field study. 

Reports of sightings or sign have persisted, however, and currently at least four mountain lions have been documented (Witsell et al., 1999; Clark et al., unpubl. data). The origin of these animals is not known, although there are over 100-150 captive animals currently inArkansas (Sasse, 2001), and free-ranging animals might possibly have originated from that source. Mountain lions in Arkansas originally were designated as P. concolor coryi, the endangered Florida panther. However, Culver et al. (2000), using mitochondrial DNA, have placed all North American mountain lions into one subspecies, P. c. couguar.


LITTLE ROCK – A deer hunter shot
 and killed a 148-pound male mountain
 lion Saturday morning east of 
 Hermitage in Bradley County.

It’s the first time a mountain lion

 has been killed in Arkansas since
 1975 in Logan County.

The hunter, Douglas W. Ramer,

 62, of Bastrop, Louisiana, told 
wildlife officers the mountain 
lion was moving toward his deer
 stand and he felt threatened. 
According to Arkansas Game 
and Fish Commission regulations,
 non-game wildlife (except
 migratory birds and endangered 
species) that present a reasonable
 threat to people or property may
be shot during daylight hours or 
trapped without a depredation permit.

Ramer, who was on private property,

 reported the incident to wildlife 
 officers Wednesday. He has not
 been charged with violating 
regulations, although officers
 are continuing to investigate t
he incident.

The carcass was given to AGFC

 biologists. Hair from the mountain
 lion will be sent to Wildlife Genetics 
Laboratory in Missoula, Montana,
 for DNA testing, which often can 
 reveal an animal’s area of birth. 

Mountain lions – also known as pumas and cougars – lived throughout Arkansas until about 1920. The AGFC offered bounties and hired trappers to control predators during 1927-29. At least 255 wolves and 523 bobcats were killed, but no mountain lions were taken.

Five sightings of mountain lions in Arkansas have been confirmed in the last five years, although a breeding population has not been verified. A few mountain lion sightings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana also have been confirmed in recent years.

A mountain lion was killed in Montgomery County in 1949 and another in Ashley County in 1969. In late 1998, a team from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock observed tracks, feces and a deer kill from a free-ranging mountain lion across Hot Spring, Garland and Pulaski counties.




Mark LaRoux said...

Mot sure I actually beieve the hunter in Arkansas saying he 'felt threatened', which is now just a code for saying he wants to legally get away with killing a mountain lion (suprise, suprise). Same with the guy who shot the Florida panther in Georgia a few years ago...anyone see the pictures of him grinning over the dead cat, rifle in hand? Threatened?
While on the subject, did anyone find out the results of the cougar shot in Kentucky in December? Was it a pet? Florida panther? Haven't seen ANYTHING in the news about it.

Rick Meril said...

Hi Mark...............All of these "threatened" comments are you state.......hi powered rifle and all...........give me a break..............I have not heard of the Kentucky "DNA origen" results either...........Anyone else have information?