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Everywhere cougars roam, even in the lowest dispersal densities, what we call incidental evidence appears: cats treed, hit, shot, snared, and found wandering into towns and cities. And increasingly, the proliferation of remote game/wildlife cameras is getting terrific pics of cougars along the urban/suburban interface. Folks even get pics of cougars on cell and point & shoot cameras: looking in windows, staring down house cats, entire families wandering leisurely across yards.

However, such photographs virtually stop (the CT cougar left all of this incidental evidence across 4 states and 1500 miles) in the East at Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A decade of our own remote camera surveys in seven eastern states failed to capture a single cougar photograph; neither has a Smithsonian cam-study at 447 sites along the Virginia Appalachian Trail. A massive collaborative Adirondack carnivore research study  using cameras, track plates, and scat analysis at 54 locations found no cougar evidence. We realized that there was no objective reason why random remote cam pics, with other incidental evidence, shouldn’t be appearing up and down the Eastern Seaboard, if cougars were here.

Sure, cougars are elusive, but they betray their legendary stealth all the time, even at moments most vulnerable and rare: a cougar, for instance, makes a deer kill once every 10 days – linked below on camera are 3.

So, we continue to ask, objectively:

Why Everywhere but the East?

Florida love

San Gabriel deer kill, San Gabriel feeding

Santa Monica deer kill

Colorado deer kill

Santa Cruz: kittens nursing & napping

Santa Cruz: cougar trapped and photographed in an aquaduct culvert, tranquilized, captured and released

Griffith Park: Hollywood, Los Angeles

Minnesota: caught on a police dash-cam, the CT cougar first emerges in a St. Paul suburb

Indiana: cell phone pic from tree stand

Wisconsin: Spooner cougar treed three days in a row

Wisconsin-Michigan UP: radio-collared cat trips multiple cams across two states

Chicago: the first cougar confirmed in Wisconsin in a century taken out in Chicago two months later

South Dakota: cougar treed by a 17 lb. Jack Russell Terrier

Missouri: cougar caught live in a bobcat trap

Roadkills: about 1/4 of all panther deaths – 12-20 annually  from a population of 150 cats – occur from vehicle collisions. The CT cougar remains the lone road kill north of Florida and east of Illinois (where one was hit by a train!).

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