As we reach our first Friday of the new year, I’m featuring a cute, baby animal today. So often, baby animals are sooooo cute! Today’s baby is no exception. Do you know what it is?
If you guessed baby Mountain Lion (Felis concolor), you’re absolutely correct. Check out the beautiful blue eyes! This young cat was orphaned and in captivity when photographed. Mountain lions are also sometimes called cougars, pumas, panthers or catamounts. In my area (Missouri), they have been in the news quite frequently over the past few years. Until the last couple of years, reports of mountain lions in the area were quickly silenced by the state’s conservation department, and often explained as residents misidentifying bobcats as mountain lions. But the use of trail cams, along with a couple of roadkills and finally photographs, have caused the state to change it’s posture. They now report that Missouri has no resident population, but encounters are simply juveniles from other western states, passing through in search of their own home territory. And when an animal is killed or captured, hair and blood samples are taken and DNA tested to determine the origin of the animal. But it makes one wonder that if we are seeing these transients, will they begin residing here at some point? After all, we do have lots of white-tailed deer, one of the mountain lion’s favorite foods. These are beautiful animals and are often persecuted as wanton killers. But the fact is, they are secretive animals that rarely are seen … and most encounters are a result of humans encroaching on their habitat. Hopefully, we will learn to coexist with these beautiful creatures.
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