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Cougars are also known as pumas, mountain lions, mountain cats, catamounts or panthers. Fully grown they reach the height of 7 to 8 feet An adult weighs between 100 and 250 pounds. They are extremely agile and can leap up to 20 feet. The diet of Cougars, being a carnivore, consists of large mammals, including deer but they also eat smaller animals including rabbits and birds.
The Cougar is similar to the leopard usually having an unmarked tawny body. Black Cougars can be described as an unspotted leopards with dark brown hair and very sharp emerald eyes. Their hind legs are larger than the front legs on a long body and neck with a small head, short face a long tail.
First off we believe most residents of Ontario don't realize we even have Cougars in Ontario. Officially they are considered extinct here. We believe they are here and should be placed on the endangered list for Ontario, but before that can happen lot's of documentation and research needs to take place in order for the powers that be to recognize them as not extinct. We believe we have far more than we can imagine. Over 500 sightings. We have seen and documented tracks. DNA and more HD video would help our goal of placing them on the endangered list. These beautiful animals aren't Western Cougars that have roamed here from the west but a distinct Eastern species.
Are Cougar's really extinct in Ontario, Canada?
The Eastern Cougar has become somewhat like Bigfoot in some parts of Ontario, particularly Southern Ontario; while they once thrived in that region, the last documented living cougar in Ontario was recorded in 1938. Around this stage the Eastern Cougar was moved to the extinct list in the province of Ontario in Canada; however, a number of reported and confirmed sightings over the past decade have caused experts to reconsider if the cougar (also known as the Mountain Lion, Puma or Panther) is truly extinct in Ontario, or if its simply endangered.
Since 2002 alone, there have been over 500 reported sightings in Ontario with farmers reporting attacks to their livestock, and hunters and other individuals out for a stroll through deeply wooded areas claiming to spot a much larger, cat-like animal with similar markings to a deer in fleeting glimpses. While very few of these sightings have actually been confirmed; there is enough DNA evidence collected through hair and Cougar scat to indicate that the Eastern Cougar is still alive and well in Ontario, though the true numbers cannot be confirmed.
Few Ontarians are aware that there might still be Cougars living among them or for that matter, that they ever did since the Cougars history predates a large percentage of the population today. But with sightings being reported all across Ontario, its clear that while the Cougar may be as elusive as Bigfoot, these animals are out there and probably in large numbers.
One confirmed Cougar sighting was in Gatineau Park, Quebec, near Canadas capital, Ottawa; a popular hiking and camping area. Despite the high human presence, within 25 years, there have been multiple reports of cougar sightings, which were finally confirmed to be valid in 2007 after park officials saw a large-sized Mountain Lion casually strolling across one of the parks roads. Other confirmed sightings have been in the Lindsay and Peterborough area, and researchers are setting up discreet cameras in hopes of catching some of these creatures in action and getting a better feel for just how big their population is. Cougars arent foreign in Canada, with populations living in great numbers in the West, particularly in the mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. These Cougars are not believed to be of the same species as the ones in Ontario.
While there is no absolute evidence as to why the Eastern Cougar became extinct in Ontario in the early to mid-1900s; some have suggested its due to a migration of deer, one of the species main food sources, or as a result of settling farmers killing them off when they posed a risk to their livestock. Other large wild cats have managed to thrive in Ontario, including the Ontario Bobcat and the Lynx.This is good news for the Eastern Cougar, if the species is managing to thrive again after decades of being considered extinct, but it might have entirely different meanings to Ontario residents who might need to start taking extra precautions with their livestock and small animals.
COMMON NAME: cougar, panther, mountain lion, puma
KINGDOM: Animalia PHYLUM: Chordata
GENUS SPECIES: Felis concolor
DESCRIPTION: Largest member of the genus Felis. There are two primary color phases. Phase one is yellow shades of buff, cinnamon and tawny. Phase two is gray shades of silver, slate and bluish. Long, lithe body. Neck and tail also long. Small head with short, rounded ears. Hind legs longer than front legs.
SIZE: Animals in the tropics are smaller than the animals in the northern and southern ranges. Males are larger than females.
MALE Head/body length = 1,050-1,959 mm (41.3-71 in.) Shoulder height = 600-700 mm (23.6-27.6 in.) Tail length = 660-784 mm (26-30.9 in.)
FEMALE Head/body length = 966-1,517 mm (38-59.7 in.) Shoulder height = 600-700 mm (23.6-27.6 in.) Tail length = 534-813 mm (21-32 in.)
WEIGHT: Males weigh more than females MALE 61-103 kg (134-227 lb.) FEMALE 36-60 kg (79.4-132lb.)
DIET: Feeds primarily upon deer. Will also prey on other ungulates, beavers, porcupines, hares, and wild hogs. Usually drags prey to sheltered area and consumes a portion. The rest is covered with leaves and revisited over several days.
GESTATION: 90-96 days; Litter size is 1-6 young
ESTRAL PERIOD Averages 23 days
NURSING DURATION Nurse for 3 months or more but begin eating some solid food at approximately 6 weeks
SEXUAL MATURITY: Reproductive activity does not occur until a range is established
MALE Usually does not mate before 3 years; remains reproductively active at least 20 years
FEMALE 2.5 years; may remain reproductively active until at least 12 years
LIFE SPAN: 20+ years in zoological setting
FEMALE A female killed in the wild was at least 18 years
RANGE: Has greatest natural distribution of all terrestrial mammals in the Northern Hemisphere except humans. Southern Yukon and Nova Scotia to southern Chile and Patagonia.
HABITAT: Very diverse, found in forests, swamps, grassland, and deserts
POPULATION: REGIONAL 16,000 in mountainous portions of western North America, Texas, and Florida
STATUS: IUCN F. c. coryi and F.c. couguar listed as Critically Endangered
1. Very agile and muscular. Has been known to jump 5.5 meters from the ground into trees.
2. A capable but somewhat reluctant swimmer.
3. Most acute sense is sight. Hearing also very good. Sense of smell not considered to be very well developed.
4. Hunts by stalking. Frequently leaps on the back of prey sometimes after a brief chase. Kill frequency averages one deer every 3 days for females with large cubs, as compared to one deer every 16 days for a single adult.
5. Vocalize by making growls, hisses and birdlike whistles, and infrequently loud screams. The function of the scream is not known.
6. Young are born with spotted coats that fade by about 6 months. At that time they are able to make their own kills, but remain with their mothers for several more months up to a year. Litter mates may stay together for 2-3 months after that. Home ranges of females range from 26 to 350 square kilometers, with an average of 40 square kilometers.
Female home ranges may overlap extensively. Male home ranges do not overlap with those of other males and typically encompass the home ranges of two females. They range in size from 140 to 760 square kilometers, with an average of 280 square kilometers.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
As an apex predator cougars help keep prey populations in check. They also help strenghten the prey populations by feeding primarily on the sick and weak. Studies of prey taken by the central Idaho population of cougars showed that over half of the mule deer and elk taken were in poor condition. Viewed as a threat to livestock and humans, cougars have been hunted intesively since the arrival of the Europeans to the New World. By the early twentieth century cougars were reduced to ranges in the mountainous portions of the West, southern Texas, and Florida (see FLORIDA PANTHER).
Another way to identify Cougar tracks is the fact that they usually will not show any claw marks.
Possible field recording of large cat (Cougar?) caught while on expedition to the Lost Channel area (Moose Lake) in Sept 2011
Cougar tracks found on expedition to the Agnew Lake (North) area of Ontario
Ontario man reports capturing first ever picks of a wild Cougar in Ontario.
Ontario man reports capturing first ever picks of a wild Cougar in Ontario.
Sudbury, ON, July 25/2012
Ontario Wildlife Field Research-Ontario Bigfoot reports Ontario man has finally captured the first ever picks of wild Cougar in Ontario in Bruce Peninsula National Park. Jeff Seeger had seen both tracks of a male and female along one of the trails in the park during a visit on June 8-11/2012. Jeff returned last week to do a stake out of the area and managed to snap several pictures of one of the Cougars, as well as a track and possible den picture. He continues to head up to the location to further document the Cougars.
OWFR-OB is currently investigating the report and preliminary results indicate genuine Cougar snap shots were taken by Jeff Seeger and we commend him for the great work.