Well, we knew they were around, but it’s the first time in 8 years (2013-2020) they’ve shown themselves on camera (date and time stamps are wrong). This beautiful specimen of Puma concolor has tracked through the EEC Forest Stewardship wildlife corridor by the creek. The cat came in the early light of dawn. It’s most likely checking out the sheep, who will be moved back up to the main pastures close to the house this week in response to the recent visit. Cougar are not rare in these parts, considering they are an apex predator of The Pacific Northwest. Why not a bobcat? Well, the tail is almost 3 feet long. That’s a big tail, for a BIG cat.
In this beautiful image, we can see the legs have no spotting, as a bobcat would. The cougar is also wearing a radio collar, which is very exciting. This cat has been captures, sedated, and handled by people before. Wonder what the study will show? The puma in these pictures looks young, only a few years at most, and because of that, it’s wandering through human development looking for a territory. Adult cougars know better than to come into human scented places, but young cats are clueless, and often get killed for their curiosity, so to speak.
At EEC, we do not hope to harvest cougars, but we do not want to encourage them either. We’ll move our stock back to the front pastures to be safe. Electric fencing would not stop a cougar from jumping in to help its self to a ripe young lamb. A few years ago in 2015, a couple of high profile wildlife tracking friends took a look at a goat kill site on the farm- they said it was most likely adolescent cougar. I was skeptical, only because I had no trail cam footage of any such animal. Ha! I knew it was only a matter of time till we did see one, and here it is- 2020! What a year!