A Cougar's Two Thousand-Mile Quest to Find a Mate

For some guys, finding a girlfriend is as easy as existing. For others, it involves a tremendous amount of hard work. But probably not as much as one particular cougar which undertook an incredible journey from western South Dakota to Connecticut in a long search to find a mate.

(Photo: Charles Barilleaux)

The wild cougar was wearing a radio tracker and there were several witnesses of his journey. So the extent of his travels is knowable. They inspired William Stolzenburg to write Heart of a Lion: A Lone Cat's Walk across America. In an interview with National Geographic, Stolzenburg described the cougar's march:

As far as we know, he started out from the Black Hills of South Dakota sometime in the late summer of 2009. At that time he was probably about one and a half years old, a young male just coming into adulthood. As most young males do, he set off in search of a mate. But instead of going west, as most lions in that part of the country do, he headed east into the Great Plains. Over time he showed up in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and in Wisconsin. He disappeared for a couple months, then shows up almost two years later, 30 miles from Manhattan, in Greenwich, Connecticut. In all he probably traveled 2,000 to 5,000 miles, enough to cross the country twice. He forded all the major rivers of the East, navigated highways and an international boundary. It was one of the most spectacular journeys by an animal ever recorded.  

Sadly, the cougar hit by a car and killed northeast of New York City.

-via Marilyn Terrell

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