Sunday, March 11, 2007

Seen an Eastern Puma in the Smokies?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating the endangered status of the Eastern Puma a wild cat which was placed on the Endangered and Threatened Wildlife list in 1973. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now performing its first review of sightings in the wild of these magnificent feline predators since 1982.

The Eastern pumas are also known as catamount, panther, cougar or mountain lion are reddish brown-tan in color with white fur on their belly and under their chin and black markings are found on the Pumas face, behind the ears and on the tip of its tail. Eastern Pumas grow up to 6 feet in length and range in weight between 65 to 130 pounds far less than the western Pumas which can reach 170 pounds.

Puma cubs are even harder to spot and are pale with spots and have rings around the tail. At approximately 6 months of age the cubs lose their spots and rings.

Other distinctive features of the eastern Puma is the appearance of a cow lick or swirl in the fur in the middle of their back and a noticeable upward turn or kink at the end of the wild cats tail.

The Eastern Cougars were immediately hunted and slaughtered as soon as the white settlers came to the new world and have virtually disappeared from the wild in the late 1800's.

The USFWS state that some of that the following wildlife refuges are know to have eastern puma: Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge but some may be hiding in the Tennessee or North Carolina Smokies.

1 comment:

Ken Shamblin said...

My family and I saw one cross the road in front of us between Gatlinburg and Townsend in 1984. Ken Shamblin