Michigan/New England Comparisons

We have had quite a bit of good discussion about Michigan the last week. The main point here is comparing what has happened in Michigan, to what has been happening in New England. For the last few decades, people in Michigan, particularly the upper peninsula, have been reporting cougar sightings. They were dismissed, labeled misidentifications, then finally when evidence started coming in, the ole "escaped pet" comes out of the bag. These reports go back to 1970, and are in virtually the same areas where they now have been confirmed. Here in New England, reliable sightings and evidence (mainly tracks) go back at least to the 1960's. Here like Michigan, they are rarely seen, and leave little evidence normally. Claims are made that we would see more road kills (We finally had one in Ct.), but Michigan has not had them either. It took a mammoth effort by a private wildlife conservancy to find the evidence in Michigan. A similar effort is underway here in New England, with the assistance of a major university, and several others. Cougars can be one of the most elusive animals on the planet. They survive and find food by being elusive. One researcher that is assisting in the project did research on another species literally in the middle of a population of cougars, unaware they were even there for quite a length of time. Bottom line, its highly likely we have some small population of cougars in parts of Southern New England. Its likely most are dispersing Males, but yet again, we had a family unit confirmed in Craftsbury, VT a few years ago. The evidence has been showing up sporadically for some time in SNE, and now we have some pretty good confirmations. Many people do not recognize the evidence, such as a deer kill site. They have been found over the last couple of years, and all this is being collected and will be put in public view soon. The pattern here has been exactly the same as in Michigan, including the resistance by SOME wildlife agencies. Some of them however, are acknowledging that they are here at this point, but feel they are just the dispersers. The population certainly isn't of the "sustainable" level as of yet, but we are likely to have a "breeding" population before too many years go by. Bottom line, finally some of the agencies are coming around to the fact that they are here, in some kind of smaller numbers (we think). And like Michigan, an arsenal of research is starting to be undertaken. Keep the reports coming! GET PICTURES if you find tracks, and make sure the location is verifiable and visitable. THANKS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!


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