Cougars are also being called a mountain lion, panther or puma. Despite their scary looks, they can’t roar like the rest of big cats instead they can only purr like a cute house cat, even though they are the second largest cats in the world. A female cougar and a male cougar look pretty much the same, they both look like a large house cat, the only difference is in size, a male cougar can weigh around 70kg (150lb) while a female can only weigh around 45kg (100lb). Since there are no original images as an illustrations, we will show you some random images of cougars we've chosen for you.
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Even though the cougar in this story traveled such great lengths to find a mate, cougars are not monogamous animals, meaning they mate only once with a female they find, after that the mother raises her kittens till they reach a sexually active age which is around 2 years upon birth, at which they leave and continue living alone, as the solitary creatures they are. They contact another member of the species only to mate, and it can happen during any time of the year.
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This is a story about one special young cougar from Black Hills in South Dakota that decided to go on a journey to find his mate instead of staying in the Black Hills. His story is extraordinary because of incredible length of his journey and the places he was appearing. He had good reasons why he made the choice to travel and we will explain some of them to you so you can get a better insight into his motivations and understand him.
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Cougars have a well defined male hierarchy in their societies, and it is based on an age difference. The older and mature cougars are very respected and feared by younger male cougars and females mostly mate with mature ones. Those big cougars control big territories and within those territories a young cougars that become sexually mature at around 24 months of age, can’t find a mate since mature cougars have some sort of a monopoly over the females in the borders of their territory.
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Young males are than faced with a choice, either they can prove their dominance by fighting and defeating a mature big cougar, by which they would earn the respect of others and females, or set off on a quest to find a mate somewhere else and leave the ones that belong to the territory owners.
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In most case scenarios, such as the one we are talking about today, a young male chooses the second option and goes on a trip to find a mate, simply because the chances of him fighting a mature male and surviving are too small. The thing that makes our hero of the story stand out amongst other cougars on a quest for mate, is his endurance and the fact that he traveled from 2,000 to 5,000 miles looking for one.
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The other reason he was better off on a quest than staying in South Dakota, where he was born, was the cougar hunting circumstances there. In America cougars have a very bad reputation, they are unprotected and are being hunted and killed for no particular reason, simply because of the American culture in which a cougar has a reputation of a dangerous evil cat that kill humans.
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All of these believes originate from the time first European settlers came to this land in 1700s.The white men believed that cougars hunt humans and their horses and were popularly calling them a “ghost cat” or an “Indian devil cat”. In that sense men were killing them whenever they had a chance. There are even records of paid bounties for dead cougars in some states up till 1960s.
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Even though all of these believes where scientifically proven as false, American culture kept the bad reputation of cougars and to this day everyone in South Dakota with a hunting license, that costs only 28 dollars, can shoot a cougar and to top it all off, a hunting season lasts 365 days a year. So you can see how our little hero made a great choice escaping Dakota where he would most likely be shot before he found a mate.
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Our cougars story begins at the summer of 2009 when he went on one of the longest and most amazing animal trips ever recorded. Because of all the dangers he was facing in Dakota, such as hunters and mature male cougars, our traveler set off on a quest to find a mate somewhere else and live the life on the road. He was appearing in parking lots, streets and back yards of houses all across America and using witnesses and camera documentation of the big cat, we are able to figure out his path of traveling quite accurately.
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He started from the Black Hills in South Dakota when he was approximately one and a half years old and gradually becoming sexually mature, and went east unlike most of young cougars in that area which usually go west. In the next two years he was seen and recorded all across country, including Great Plains, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Connecticut where he was tragically hit by a car at night.
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Our little hero didn’t find his mate after all, but he certainly made a legacy with his incredible journey and determination. His story is so touching that it was turned into a book. William Stolzenburg wrote a book titled “Heart of a lion: a lone cats walk across America” based on this story. In his book the author also points out the problems cougars are facing and brings awareness to the people about the hunting problem in some states, helping cougars such as the one we are talking about today live a more peaceful life.
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