Mountain Lions Recolonizing Their Historic Range in Midwest, Canada

Richard Gillin/CC BY-SA 2.0

New research shows that mountain lions have moved out from three strongholds in the Black Hills of South Dakota and have begun recolonizing their historic range in the US Midwest and Canada.

Examining confirmed sightings by wildlife professionals, carcasses, attacks on livestock, tracks, photos, video, and DNA evidence, scientists have determined that mountain lions now are living in an area from Texas, Arkansas and Nebraska, to Ontario and Manitoba.

Michelle LaRue explains why mountain lion populations were so low over the 20th century and potential future problems for them:

The cougar population declined dramatically from 1900, due to both hunting, and a lack of prey, leaving the remaining population isolated to the American west. [...] The evidence helps to confirm that cougars are recolonizing their historic range and reveals that sighting have increased over the past two decades. The question now is how the public will respond after living without large carnivores for a century. We believe public awareness campaigns and conservation strategies are required across these states, such as the Mountain Lion response plans already in place in Nebraska and Missouri.(Science Daily)

Tags: Animals | United States

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