Wednesday, 21 January 2015

NEWSLINK: What would it take for a catamount comeback?

Posted: Jan 05, 2015 7:38 PM GST
Updated: Jan 08, 2015 2:45 PM GST
By Judy Simpson

JERICHO, Vt. -In the sports world Vermont is known as Catamount Country. But the reality is catamounts, or cougars, have not lived in Vermont since the 1880's. The last catamount was taken in 1881 and it is on display at the Vermont Historical Society. However, some wildlife experts think the cat could make a comeback. 

This is footage of a cougar in the western United States -- a somewhat common sight. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department gets up to 100 cougar sightings reported around the state each year. So far none have been conclusively confirmed, but some wildlife experts believe it is only a matter of time before the catamount comes back to Vermont. 

"In my capacity I am convinced that they are coming and that they will come here in time, it will take some time however," said Susan Morse, the Founder and Science Director of Keeping Track, an organization that has been working for the past 20 years to help people discover, document and conserve key wildlife habitats across North America. She says Vermont's abundant forest cover and large number of prey species, including deer, are perfect cougar habitat. "Porcupines, moose calves, occasional snow shoe hares -- we have it here and there is nothing to stop cougars from re-colonizing the Northeast, except for the fact they have got to get here from source populations in the west and that appears to be the sticking point," Morse said.

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