Friday, December 10, 2010

Cougar: "Ghost of the Maine woods"

The Bangor Daily News has published an excellent and extensive article about cougar sightings in Maine.
Despite hundreds of sightings, cougar’s status remains in doubt
12/3/10 04:50 pm Updated: 12/5/10 06:57 am
By Kevin Miller, BDN Staff

Roddy Glover said he will never forget the day a decade ago he came face to face with the fabled ghost of the Maine woods, a predator that according to virtually all scientific accounts no longer existed in New England.

It was mid-September 2000 and Glover, then 39, was scouting out some easily accessible spots along railroad tracks in Monmouth where, with an injured foot, he could more easily bowhunt for deer.

Standing on an embankment above the tracks, Glover saw a large, tawny-colored animal strolling toward him in the mud beside the railroad ties, he said.

“I thought, ‘That looks weird. It doesn’t look familiar,’” Glover, a lifelong hunter as well as a taxidermist, recalled recently. “It was friggin’ huge.”

But when the animal turned sideways, revealing its characteristically long tail, Glover said he realized with a shock what was headed his way: a mother mountain lion with its good-sized offspring in tow.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “I just laid down … because I couldn’t run because of my foot. They started coming closer and closer, and they got within 50 yards of me when they turned and went into the woods.”

A biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife later would say in media reports that the tracks he documented at the scene were “the most solid piece of cougar evidence we’ve ever had.”

In the decade since, DIF&W has received scores of reports — and even some grainy photos — from people throughout Maine convinced they spotted a mountain lion crossing a road, stalking prey in a field or lounging in the sunny backyard like a gigantic house cat.

Reports of mountain lions — including one sighting near Greenville last month — have come in from all around the state in recent years. But officially at least, self-sustaining populations of wild cougars or mountain lions exist only in Maine’s history books.


Read full Bangor Daily News article here (this excerpt is only the tip of the iceberg!):

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