Mountain Lions once roamed most of North
America. Do to unregulated hunting, and habitat loss their range has dwindled
to the mountainous areas of the west since around the turn of the century.
There is also a sub-species known as the Florida Panther that is found mostly
in extreme southern Florida around the Everglades.
in the past decade there have been hundreds if not thousands of reported
Mountain Lion sightings and numerous
confirmed lions in eastern states. States the cougars once called home. The Mountain Lion is known by
several other names: cougar,
puma, catamount, and panther.
Confirmed Cougar Sightings ©
Very little is actually known about the cougars daily habits and territory.
On May 27th 2004 a dead cougar was found near Red Rock Oklahoma, 80 miles
North of Oklahoma City. A railroad worker reported finding a dead cougar
laying near tracks he had been inspecting. What made this particular cougar so
important is that on February 24, 2003 it had been fitted with a radio collar
being treed by dogs and shot with a
tranquilizer. After being collared the 80 pound male cougar was last tracked
58 miles to the northeast on September 3rd. Although his exact travel route is
unknown, we know he ended up more than 660 straight line miles some 8 months later. This
is nearly twice the distance of any previously known travel. Another
interesting thing about this study is that a second male cougar is known to
have traveled over 500 miles and is now in Minnesota along the Canadian
Black Panthers: Despite the fact that a large percentage of "cougar"
sightings are reportedly a large black cat or "black panther", there has never
been a confirmed "black" cougar in the United States. Not a picture not a
body, not a captive specimen ever.
|Confirmed Eastern Cougar Sightings:
• Illinois, Randolph County - July 15th 2000. Dead male
mountain lion aprx 4-6 years old found near railroad
tracks. North American origin. No signs of being confined.
• Missouri, Clay County - October 2002 a 2-3 year old male
• Missouri, Callaway County - In August 2003 a
1.5 year old male was killed by a car. Grey squirrel in stomach, no signs
of confinement -
• Arkansas, Perry County - August 2003 a hunter using a wildlife
camera photographed a cougar in the Winona WMA.
• Maine - 2003 outdoorsman spots cougar and cub and makes a report
to wildlife agency who follow-up with biologist visit. Hairs were found and
confirmed to be mountain lion.
• Illinois, near New Boston - December 4, 2004 dead
cougar found by hunters. This cougar had
apparently been shot by someone with archery equipment probably a few days
before it was found.
• Wisconsin - January 2007 a cougar sighting
reported by a trapper was confirmed by DNA tests on urine found after
Wisconsin DNR followed up on the sighting report. Further tests are
expected to determine whether the mountain lion was of south American
origin or a native subspecies.