Friday, July 11, 2014

Should the Mountain Lion Distribution Map Be Redrawn?

I am just flagging up the thought that it may be wise to redraw the existing distribution map of the mountain lion.  The classic map which sets out the areas where the mountain lion is found in North, Central and South America including Mexico may need to be redrawn and in this instance I am writing about the United States of America.

Camera trap photo of mountain lion

The reason why I am suggesting this is because I am consistently receiving on my website reports of mountain lions in the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana (Louisiana is near the edge of the existing range but not in it). Of these four, the North Carolina sightings are more frequent and this state is the farthest east of the four.

I do not believe that these are escaped pets but of course they might be.  Alternatively they may simply be genuine wild mountain lions which have migrated from the West to extend the distribution of this wild cat species in North America.

The classic distribution in North America tells us that the mountain lion is only found in the western half of America and Canada.  The division between West and East is not a straight line but it is a clear division nonetheless indicating that there are no mountain lions in the eastern half of America. This appears to be incorrect.

There is a pocket, an island range, of the mountain lion in Florida as we know. This is the Florida panther. I wonder whether the map should be redrawn to include some pockets of "island ranges" in the states referred to above?

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