Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer”

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

IMG_2068-Naples-Florida-zoo-western-cougar-sign 😛 While touring the Naples Zoo in Southwest Florida last week, we came upon an enclosure full of cougars. No, not the Courtney Cox variety! These are the type found in the wilds of the western United States. Other words for cougar are panther, mountain lion, even puma – all are part of the same species of big cats.

I remember reading a few years back about genetic defects found in the Florida panther that scientists attempted to correct by introducing DNA from Texas mountain lions. They trapped a number of female mountain lions and transported them from Texas to Florida, releasing them into the Florida panther’s habitat. When the females gave birth, the genetic defects had been either reduced or eliminated from the offspring. All of the Texans were then returned to their home state.

At the zoo on this particular day, a pile of cougars lay sleeping on the ground in the shady enclosure, while a significantly larger one lounged on a wooden platform. I stood there silently wishing he’d get up and move about so I could get a good shot of him. Suddenly, as if my wish were his command, he roused himself and looked directly at me with sleepy, patient eyes – and then he stuck his tongue out at me! 😛


Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer” 😉

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