Cougar or not? Why we think we see big cats in our backyards.
Many Americans mistakenly believe they see dangerous animals—so some scientists are taking to Twitter to correct these misperceptions.
“Mom, don’t hit the cougar!” Faren Marée Ramos shouted as her mother pulled into their driveway at Ramos’s house in Nolensville, Tennessee, in June.
Ramos quickly snapped some blurry photos of a tawny wildcat striding through the woods, wondering if what she saw was a bobcat or even a cougar, a species long ago wiped out from Tennessee. Lively discussion ensued when she posted the photos to a private Facebook group, so Ramos sent her pictures to Michelle LaRue, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Minnesota and executive director of the Cougar Network, a group that researches the North American big cats.
She had come to the right place.
LaRue invented the game Cougar or Not,