Totally inaccurate Chris here is the full reply

One Utah female traveled over 1000 miles - not in a linear line - and didn't get pregnant.

The phrase “Linear line” is redundant. Did you mean to say “not in a straight line”.

The Utah female dispersed 833 miles, not over 1000 as you have indicated, as it passed through 3 states. Then it was killed by a hunter in Colorado. She never had a chance to establish a home range. That’s probably why she wasn’t pregnant. See comments below for further explanations.

In 2011, one Black Hills female made it to Oklahoma, and didn't get pregnant.she is now in a Kansas zoo.

Oklahoma didn’t have whole lot of cougars the last time I checked which may have something to do with her not finding a mate. But you don’t have your facts straight about this issue. Sexually mature female cougars, in virtually every case, don’t get pregnant until they establish home ranges. Didn’t anyone tell you that? This disperser may have not have found the habitat in Oklahoma to her liking and in addition may not have come across any sign of other pumas.

Perhaps it would be advisable to run any future postings by John Laundre first.

Most experts think the Mississippi River-not the Missouri, is a more formidable barrier but since cougars can swim long distances-at least 8 miles and perhaps three times as far before drowning from exhaustion, neither of these rivers are impassable barriers for a puma. Previous dispersers have made this crossing so it is hard to imagine why you think this particular female would have any difficulty or why you think it is instructive to compare her to female panthers that haven’t crossed certain bodies of water in Florida.

Three males have crossed the Caloosahatchee and no one can explain why any females haven’t.
I’ll offer one. Males disperse by instinct anyway which avoids inbreeding but Florida Panthers aren’t numerous and populations haven’t reached a saturation level yet so the motivations for females to leave because of limited space or declining resources probably don't exist. Maybe female Panthers don’t have any compelling need to cross the river and that’s why they haven’t taken the plunge whereas males do. But on the basis of this peculiar behavior of Panthers at one river crossing, to then promulgate a rule that says that dispersing female cougars from the Black Hills won’t cross the Missouri because female Florida Panthers don't cross the Caloosahatchie is a stretch, and one which I completely reject.

Though it sure is curious that she traveled over 600 miles and didn't get pregnant.

Again, they don't get pregnant on the march, only after occupying a home range. You are certainly aware of this correct?

Indeed, females can travel long distances, they just tend to stay closer to where they're born.

Indeed, Chris, but that's redundant. Read the Black Hills disperser document first. Then make a statement.

We just got through explaining that Black Hills females are not philopatric, and neither are those in Utah. 60% of SD cougars and 40-60% of Utah females dispersed and about half of each group went long distances, far beyond their natal ranges. Another Black Hills female dispersed 420 miles from it’s home range....And your response to this research is? “They tend to stay close to where they were born.” Wrong.

They don’t stay close-not in the Black Hills...... and not in Utah in two separate research sites. Rethink your position on this issue; it is flawed.

The closest breeding source to New England remains the Niobrara River Valley in Nebraska. It took seven years of dispersal from the Pine Ridge National Forest, and 25 years of dispersal from the Black Hills - not to mention protection from Nebraska's open prairie hunting policy - to establish this new nursery in central Nebraska.

My biggest criticism of CN and RW are that are “self limiting”. This goes far beyond any notion of the “scientific method” of testing, observation and experimentation or even the idea of groups taking a conservative position on controversial issues but being distracted by western events and unable to redirect their attention to the most significant wildlife event in the last few decades- migration from eastern Canada and reoccupation of New England by mountain lions. You can continue to talk about Nebraska or Florida Panthers till the cows come home and it isn’t going to change what is happening in Connecticut. That’s why this blog is called the New England Sightings Board, not the Niobrrara Valley Bulletin Board, which brings up another question; if you won’t accept sightings from anyone outside your close circle of RW associates, then why are you here? This is a sightings board. You must think that all the postings that appear are from well meaning but confused persons who are mistaken about what they saw. Only RW specialists like Helen and you who have the sophisticated training and back ground with this species can make such an observation. And you haven’t, so that means there are no mountain lions in the East despite all the claims. Much of your time and effort is spent trying to discredit anyone who dares suggest that residents are encountering cougars in NE If that's the case, readers of this blog should simply dismiss any comments you make as biased. Residents are not as stupid as you think and realize that cougars are here in some numbers. a week doesn’t go by now when someone spots a cat crossing a road in Greenwich or Kent or Pomfret CT. When agencies decide they want to start colleting evidence, there will be plenty of DNA samples to test. And until that happens, we’ll have to deal with the difficulties of obtaining photos, scat and track cats and overcoming the objections of state biologists who will challenge every discovery.

Because it took 25 years for something to take place in Nebraska, that doesn’t necessarily apply to NE. Cougars started showing up here decades before there was even a population in either SD or Nebraska. Elders of native American tribes encountered cougars in the 1950s on multiple occasions along Long Island Sound. When confronted by this kind of information, or faced with a rejection of RW’s faulty logic about long range female dispersal, your response is to change the subject; “Lets’ talk about Nebraska”.

BTW, all of Canada's female confirmations - research dated no further than 2008 - are in Prairie State habitat.

Once again, you want to draw attention of bloggers away from the East and talk about Saskaskiean. We want bloggers to take a closer look at Ontario and the other eastern provinces where officials have declared that cougars are present and backed it up with 500 pieces of evidence and confirmations in three of the 4 provinces. This is where all of the action is going to take place in the next decade, not in the prairies.

We pray every day that a female will turn up with kittens in MN, IA, MO, AK, WI, IL, or MI. It will be huge news when she does.

Curiously, you never mentioned eastern Canada on the list. And you skipped over the evidence of natural reproduction up north. Wouldn’t that be a bigger story? Breeding pairs two miles from the NH border rather than in Arkansas? Sure it would but your focus is elsewhere, not on the Northeast. That’s where our attention is focused on and those of the reader of this board. New England, not Iowa or Michigan is the area of interest for us.

Females with kittens have already been identified in Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts. In addition there have been numerous sighting reports of kittens or juveniles with spots in the Northeast. Even allowing for errors, there are too many to dismiss as bobcats or other cases of mistaken identity. Jay Tiscendorf, your founder stated that it would only take “two (dispersing females ) to kick off a population. Maybe you should consider his words before suggesting that no natural reproduction is taking place. Besides migration from Canada, there’s always escaped pets that could provide that missing ingredient to set off a population explosion. Whatever the source, it seems virtually certain that this has already taken place in NE.

In the case of NY, the DEC's explanation of the origins of the kitten shot by a hunter is amusing; all kittens have worn toe pads and it isn’t unusual for kittens to be emaciated. These conditions are not exclusively linked with captive pumas but the state needed to come up with an explanation that eliminated the notion of a wild population of cougars existing in NY so they used this one. It worked for them.

I pray every day that some NE wildlife agency doesn’t announce they intend to shoot mountain lions because of public safety concerns. Connecticut has already issued such an order for Fairfield County. What was RW's response to that? When this policy is expanded to the rest of CT and other NE states follow suit, where will Chris and Helen be then? Still claiming there are none here to kill? You Betcha!

You guys do great work, but really need to keep a more open mind, and stop hanging on to outdated theories. You will likely find very soon that will not work long.

Be well, Ray


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