There is no question about it. Cougars are not only being seen in eastern North America, some are attempting to recolonize their former habitats. Where once it was flatly dismissed as an impossibility in the so-called “developed” east, scientists have now documented cougar dispersals and even occupancy in a growing list of eastern states and provinces. Join us for a magnificently illustrated introduction to cougar biology and ecology in the broad diversity of habitats where Sue has studied them, from Alberta to the Arizona/Mexico border. We will also get the low-down regarding the latest confirmations of cougars in the east, including the recently documented suitability of a substantial amount of wild habitats from Manitoba to Louisiana and Maine to Georgia. It is only a matter of time!
Kim Royar, biologist with Vermont Fish and Wildlife, says that mountain lions are native to Vermont and were extirpated in the 1800's as a result of unregulated harvest and habitat loss. She says they are currently listed in the State's Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) which cited distance from core populations, habitat fragmentation and lack of public support as potential obstacles to species restoration. Although there is no evidence of a reproducing population here in Vermont, there is a lot of interest in this iconic animal. Kim states that among the top priorities identified in the plan is to provide the public opportunities to learn about and develop an understanding and appreciation of this species' role in the ecosystem.
There have been reports of lone cougars seen in Vermont, and a confirmed report of a mountain lion from South Dakota found dead on a highway in Connecticut. There is much evidence to suggest that the mountain lion could return to the northeast.
Support for Keeping Track's cougar programs is being provided by The Cougar Rewilding Foundation and Vermont Fish and Wildlife. For more information about the program in Cabot, Vermont please contact Kathleen Hoyne, Director of the Cabot Public Library, at firstname.lastname@example.org or the library's telephone number, (802)563-2721. The whole family is welcome to attend!