Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hillbilly Cryptozoology: Cougars

Roger Cowburn (sadly now deceased), who dedicated much of his life to the search for Eastern Pumas (aka the Nittany Lions) in the mountains of Pennsylvania
(Image by G. Parker, from the good people at Cryptomundo)
Some folks seem to think cougars are "back" in Appalachia, either having gradually migrated from the American West or down the chain from Canada or having survived in tiny insular populations in isolated hollows or on mountaintops. As for me, well, heck, I hope they're back, but I'm not entirely convinced yet. Yet being the operative word. That said, a whole lot of people are damned and determined to, um, determine if pumas are once more raising cubs and hunting in our mountains, people who work hard and get far less attention than they deserve - not only because I admire their work, but because it's pretty darn interesting. Regardé:

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, North Carolina Ecological Services:
"Eastern Cougar"

Update: Let me give you the background on this post, as in why I decided to post it in the first place. I had been browsing a few of my regular reads and came upon this post by Gulahiyi over at Ruminations From the Hills (a great blog, worth adding to your bookmarks). Later, after thinking about the article, I decided to post this one. Fair enough. I just couldn't remember the blog that published the inspirational post to give it a shout out. Well, finally, after a couple days of searching, I have rediscovered it. Check it out - it is an interesting read. Oh, and my apologies, Gulahiyi.


Anonymous said...

Great story idea...good job. Maybe you could write about utpoian experiments in Appalachia next time. Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Yes, you incurred the WRATH of Gulahiyi -
...but all is forgiven:-)

Mike said...

Smith, check this out:

GULAHIYI said...

Thought you’d like some additional accounts of panther sightings. After publishing the story of the forest service worker having jumped into the Chatooga River upon seeing a black panther, the Cashiers (NC) Crossroads Chronicles received two letters from cougar spotters.
Craig Welch told of making plaster casts of cougar tracks seen in 1980. He described the unforgettable call of the panther: “we heard a high pitched and very loud scream of such volume and duration as to be beyond human capability.” Joe Pearson insisted that he and numerous acquaintances had seen black panthers in North Carolina and across the state line in South Carolina.

Myself, I’m still waiting – and hoping - to see my first one.

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