However, I feel that in the short time I have been working for the CFZ I have uncovered many more credible reports that never made it to official record. Also, in such circumstances, I feel that reports that did not make it to official record are possibly more credible because it shows that the eyewitness is not seeking fame for their sighting. According to the sightings map there is a very dense accumulation of Big Cat evidence in Missouri.
However, the article calls the range of the western U.S. the traditional range, which I take to mean the modern traditional range because until their alleged extermination on the east side of the Mississippi River, stories of Appalachian Mountain cougars were very common. So, there was an eastern U.S. range of the mountain lion. There is a dot of note on the map in southern Illinois in the region occupied by (you guessed it) the Shawnee National Forest.
So, even though the article focuses more on the expansion of the western mountain lion, as seen in the recent jaguar incidents, it is not uncommon for big cats to roam vast distances and not to be cut off by rivers. So, as the great plains and Midwest population grows, it is only a matter of time before they are crossing the Mississippi again. However, it is my belief that the mountain lions are, as I have said repeatedly, a relic population that may have occasionally been visited by members of the western mountain lion.
I was also contacted by an eyewitness who was a relation to a young man who is a recent addition to the CFZ. This sighting is about 2 years old. The man’s grandmother encountered a normal tan mountain lion while she was on a morning walk. It was watching her from the brush and, luckily for her, once she saw it, it lost interest in her and took off into the brush. I would guess that the big cat was around 100 yards away from her, which is no great distance for a big cat to cover if it had wanted to. So, this grandmother headed back to her house and was very rattled. She also told me of a sighting two miles away of a black mountain lion near a rural family farm. She said that the farmer heard something outside and went to have a look at what it was and saw this huge black cat pulling one of his hunting dogs up a treat. However, when he went in to get his gun the cat had gone, leaving the dead dog up in the crotch of the treat.
However, I mentioned the possibility of black leopards having escaped from circuses, or exotic pets released into the wild, possibly breeding with a relic population of mountain lions in the Southern part of Illinois’ more wooded areas. And as unlikely as this might be when compared with the relic population and lack of fresh genetics producing a black color to the cats. Dragging a kill into a tree is very much leopard behavior. And all of the tree kill caches that I have heard of have been black cats. So not to say that it could not be a trait of the Eastern Mountain lion because they had not been studied very much before they were to all appearances wiped out. So, I am unsure of this behavior’s roots, but it sounds very much like leopard behavior to me or even unknown unstudied mountain lion behavior. Therefore, it is unknown to me.
Even if the population of mountain lions east of the Mississippi river is displaced Black Hills cats, I think that it could be instinctive memory. Much like how elephants know where water is even if they have never been in a place before. Almost like human mythology or race memory of places and events and why we identify with our history. These animals could feel an instinct to reclaim their old home range. Not to get all New Age, but the idea of species memory in Forteana should not be a foreign concept, considering the other crazy theories put forth on a daily basis.
I am pleased to see, but not particularly shocked, that the jaguar is reclaiming its home range, as shown in a recent bloggo posting, and it is not particularly surprising that they are not seen very often. This is an intelligent animal and a predator designed to be able to keep out of sight as if invisible. Because it was hunted to the brink of extinction (not by sport hunters, but in the manner that the Tasmanian wolf was killed off) I believe that there could be a species memory of mankind and our destructive nature warning it to avoid humans. So I am not shocked at why the Northern Mexican jaguar is rarely seen and even more so rarely seen in the American South West. But because we cannot see an animal does not mean that it is not there, it could simply mean that we are out classed by the animal and it is one step ahead of us on the track of mystery animals.
So, it is not much, but it is the best I have been able to come up with recently in this dry spell of freezing weather and high winds. So thank you for reading and I will attempt to post more often as my schooling schedule allows. It almost feels as though my bloggo should be sponsored by Folgers coffee and Marlboro cigarettes. So that’s all for now from Cryptid Illinois.