When Catamount Was King

in animals •  16 days ago

When the first Europeans arrived in the Americas, the mountain lion had a wider distribution in the Western Hemisphere than any other land mammal. From northern Canada to the tip of South America, these remarkable felines thrived, under an astounding variety of climates and conditions. From steaming equatorial jungles, to parched deserts; Florida swamps to frigid alpine mountains, these cats have proven themselves to be highly adaptable survivors.

An early trapper and woodsman of the northeast reported in the late 1600's that he alone had killed over 500 of them in the space of several years. Another testament to the species previous abundance was a contest held in Pennsylvania between 1820 and 1845. In one county alone, 600 pumas were killed in that time span. Colonial governments were known to pay out bounties for their hides.

With over 40 different names in English, including my favorite - catamount, and another 60 in Spanish and Indian dialects, cougars must have been an ever present threat to indigenous and early colonial peoples, no doubt the reason the species has earned so many monikers. Imagine what a walk in those early woodlands old have been like with vast numbers of silent, powerful and large predators stalking about.

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Nice post. It is sad what has been done to so many of these beautiful creatures. I remember when I was younger I was playing in the back yard at our house and this "cat" came out of the woods. It was far larger than any cat I had ever seen before. Of course this was well before the time of cell phone cameras so there are no pictures. We figured it might have been a bobcat or some other large predator because the woods behind our house extended all the way to a river back then. It was pretty vast wilderness. Now it is all houses and subdivisions....

I've never heard the term catamount but I like it. It really has a nice ring to it. I'm not a fan of the fact that people hunt them, especially if it's for sport. I really dont see the point of killing a beautiful creature to satisfy your own ego. I'm glad to learn that they are such a resilient creature but I do wonder how long before they are all extinct because of human influence on the world?

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But how on earth do he manage to kill upto 500! By himself

Have to have a weapon handy when venturing into wilderness with these beasts they are savage killers for sure

pics are amazing really beautiful animal