Keep in mind, there isn’t actually anyone counting.  These are estimates.  Mountain lions aren’t exactly outgoing but there are a lot of them outdoors.  I came across a website that does a good job of compiling the figures from state to state.  Idaho has roughly 2,000 according to the estimate.  If that appears to be a lot, Oregon’s estimate is three times as high and several adjacent and other neighboring states have larger populations.

We should also point out that there are many states across the country with sightings but no other evidence.  For instance, if you find a pile of scat, you can list at least one of the felines as having at least paid a visit.

Big Cats on the Move

Mountain lions also wander.  They can range over vast swaths of territory and they’re not aware of state boundaries.  Their numbers have been increasing over the last 40 years.  However, more and more are being killed as they clash with human activities.

Encounters Becoming More Common

About a year ago, I had a spokesman for Idaho Fish and Game on my program.  A caller suggested the lions appeared to be getting bolder in their interactions with people.  I believe there are two explanations if the evidence backs the claim.  We’re pushing out into the traditional range of the big cats and they’ve also grown acclimated to our presence.  Unknowingly, we often leave behind easy sources of food.  Often on our decks or near our homes.

Let’s also point out that felines are curious.  This applies to your housecat as well as the bigger and more ferocious variety.

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