By Robert Tougias
Connecticut –-(Ammoland.com)- What is it about cougars?
Why is there this controversy in the East about resident cougars or pumas living unobtrusively?
For decades wildlife officials have been telling us that they do not exist east of the Mississippi and yet each year there are hundreds of people claiming to see one.
There have been confirmed tracks, scat and DNA. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Society finally and officially declared the species extinct in the East this past spring– but just weeks later there was the case of the Milford, Connecticut cougar road kill.
While it may appear state and federal wildlife agencies have answered all the questions regarding the recent cougar kill in Milford on June 11, 2011 a growing number of biologists and private conservationists find fault in the DNA trail explaining the 1,800 mile trek from South Dakota.
Since the match of the cougars DNA with a pioneer population in the Black Hills of South Dakota, more and more state Fish and Game agencies are disclosing DNA extracted via micro-satellite testing from scats. DNA from places such as New York's Lake George region and Michigan map out the route of the cougar on his way to Connecticut. These tested scats match with the cougar killed in Milford or so they claim — but some skeptics have shown otherwise — both in inconsistencies in testing and in the improbability of the cougar's route.
Already, Greenwich, Connecticut residents and locals doubt the explanation as a transient male in search of a female for what they believe is a resident population of undetected cougars in the Northeast. Wildlife author and active member of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, Robert Tougias, does believe the healthy male cat, that showed no signs of having been in captivity, is one of many male cougars that have escaped the stressed Black Hills population in search of a female.
“This is something we thought would happen but it just surprised us because we didn't think it would so soon. Cougars travel widely in search of females, which are philopatric or faithful to home birthing ranges, they don't disperse and the males will keep going in search for them and new territory”. Tougias, who has just released a new book titled The Quest For The Eastern Cougar, says this cougar is not the first to make a long distance journey from the Black Hills.
Tougias explains the reasoning behind the Milford cougar roadkill and the continued claims of it being a native relic cat from pre European settlement times in his book which discusses the entire eastern cougar topic in detail. Tougias journeys deep into the world of the cougar and into the reasoning of those who believe cougars do exist in the East and those who do not.
He also predicts more cases of cougars turning up here in the East and offers hope of potential recovery for the species. His book The Quest For The Eastern Cougar is available at Barnes and Noble.com & Amazon or at [email protected]