Cougars are on the rise in the Midwest. From 1990 to 2008, the number of sightings confirmed by wildlife professionals increased. That’s good news for fans of big cats, which were extirpated from most of that area around 1900.
Here’s a breakdown of the rise of mountain lions in the Midwest, by the numbers.
3: Number of known breeding populations that now exist in the Midwest: In the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the North Dakota Badlands, and in western Nebraska.
8: Percent of land in the Midwest that makes for suitable cougar habitat.
0: The number of cougars the average person is likely to see in the wild in their lifetime. “Really, one of the most important things I like to make sure people know is that it’s very unlikely that they will ever see or encounter a cougar,” says Michelle LaRue. “It’s slightly more likely than winning the lottery; your chances aren’t that great. But with that said, always be aware of your surroundings, especially in the wilderness.”
I’ve always heard a lot about endangered species. Even seen a few pictures, but let’s be honest. The creatures that most of us see are rats, pigeons, and spiders.
Not the beauties of the animal kingdom. Which has caused me to wonder about the exotic animals on the Discovery channel. Does everything eat out of trash cans and look like rabies?
My answer came at the beach where I spotted some dolphins. In fact, I’m seeing a lot of them, nearly everyday. Which is a huge change from my childhood in the 90s, when seeing them then was like winning the lottery, maybe once a summer.
This launched me on an investigation that revealed a treasure trove in my backyard. There are nature preserves, tidal basins, wetlands, habitats, and nesting grounds.
I began noticing all sorts of animals all around me. Some that I passed by without even thinking twice. Like the birds in the picture below.
It turns out that those a few of those are an endangered species, and they are beautiful.