Photo of the Day #14: Cougar


Cougars (Puma concolor), while currently ranging from Canada to the Andes Mountains in South America, still inhabit only part of their former range. Before European colonization, the big cats ranged from coast-to-coast in the U.S., the eastern populations being wiped out with the exception of a small population in Florida. Some have suggested that the cats may eventually make a comeback and reclaim their previous ranges, potential sightings popping up every now and again in Pennsylvania and other states, but by and large if you want to see a cougar and live on the east coast of the U.S. you have to visit a zoo. The picture above was captured at one such institution, the Philadelphia Zoo, last January.

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Occasionally we hear of sporadic sightings here in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Usually they are attributed to mistaken identity (of the lynx for example) or outright fibbery. Also slightly possible is that there is a cat or two, but visitors from west and not a remnant of the now sadly lost eastern population.

While on the subject, anyone know how this cat got the species name concolor? "With color"? I've never considered the puma to be especially colorful.

And this gives me a chance to link the hilarious Ratings of Names for Felis Concolor.

A simply beautiful picture illustrating the beauty we rarely see in what is otherwise a rather plain creature.

Thanks for the compliments, all.

HP; I'll definitely check out those stories (I think there's at least one killer cougar film, although I can't remember it right now).

JS; I'm actually not sure why, I'll see what I can find. I have a feeling that it wasn't intended as "with color" although I can't help think that every time I see it. The ratings of the names is hilarious, though, so thanks for linking that.

concolor means "one color" or "same color".

I think there's at least one killer cougar film, although I can't remember it right now

Are you thinking of William Girdler's Day of the Animals?

Lots of different killer animals in it, but the cougar was definitely one of them.

Day of the Animals came directly to mind (it's on the list for my B-movie reviews), but I know that one wasn't it. Perhaps I'm getting things confused with some obscure films about killer lions from the 1970's and 80's, although I wouldn't be surprised if I were accidentally correct. Thanks for the suggestion, though!