Wait, that's not a dog over there!

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Josh Holbrook
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Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Josh Holbrook » April 28th, 2012, 3:46 am

From yesterday afternoon:
Image

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gbin
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by gbin » April 28th, 2012, 4:51 am

Wow! Congratulations on a great sighting, Josh!

Gerry

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by BillMcGighan » April 28th, 2012, 9:10 am

Big Congrats in Florida

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herpseeker1978
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by herpseeker1978 » April 28th, 2012, 5:28 pm

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Josh

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Soopaman
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Soopaman » April 28th, 2012, 5:53 pm

That's fantastic! That's an animal few people get to photograph. Did you stay to observe its behavior for any length of time?

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Jason B
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Jason B » April 29th, 2012, 5:21 pm

Nice photo Josh!

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Josh Holbrook » April 30th, 2012, 4:35 am

Glade everyone enjoyed the sighting. Soopaman; We watched it for about five minutes. It was sitting in the middle of that big lot, almost looking like he was waiting for something - I suspect he was stalking something though we didn't see what it was.

Jason - This was about an hour's drive from where you used to live, if you know what I'm saying ;-)

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Berkeley Boone » May 1st, 2012, 4:50 am

Oh man that is stunning! I would have been so excited, I don't know if I could have taken a decent picture.

Great stuff man!
--Berkeley

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Jeremy Westerman » May 1st, 2012, 1:46 pm

Super cool. I am surprised that it still has the distinctive Florida tail kink. i would have thought that genetic defect would have gone away since they determined that Puma concolor coryi is most likely an invalid subspecies taxon and were gonna boost the small Florida gene pool with some Mt.Lion genes from Western populations. I guess laws and endangered species acts and whatnot probably road blocked that? because laws always lag behind or ignore science. Still a critically isolated endangered population though.

I have seen 3 here in Utah: a blur with a long tail gracefully rocketing across dark road in front of my car (no picture,) a binocular sighting across a mountain basin (no picture,) and a up close and personal encounter where he ran away as fast as I could blink more than a few times (no picture.) Well you get the point, a lifetime of constant outdoors activities in prime cougar habitat and not a single picture to show and only seeing 3 in 35 years. I am still luckier than most people I know to at least have seen one they are sneaky critters.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » May 1st, 2012, 4:30 pm

FANTASTIC!

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Josh Holbrook » May 1st, 2012, 6:29 pm

Glad everybody enjoyed, here's a couple more (And I'll probably post 1 or 2 more later when I make my my main forum post):

Image

Image

Berkeley - Amazingly, I was pretty calm - I think it was the whole surreality of the situation. He was so chunky that I actually thought "it must be someones pet." Haha, definitely not, but it was crazy to look over to the side of the road and see a panther.

Jeremy - Yeah, I know the general consensus is that Florida panthers are nothing more than Eastern Cougars, but like you say they still certainly are distinct in terms of habitat, size and a few other things. That said, they did introduce Texas Cougars, and that's going well as far as I know. How big is the population in Utah? I feel extremely fortunate to have seen 5, and actually having gotten photos of two.

Hans - Thanks

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by BillMcGighan » May 2nd, 2012, 4:41 pm

From '91 - 95, we regularly fished and herped the stronghold of the catsl never saw one; only found tracks.
Again, pretty good find.
they still certainly are distinct in terms of habitat, size and a few other things.
You can definitely see the genetic anomaly of the Florida Panther, the curl at the end of the tail!

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Josh Holbrook » May 3rd, 2012, 8:54 am

BillMcGighan wrote:You can definitely see the genetic anomaly of the Florida Panther, the curl at the end of the tail!
It doesn't looked kinked from the closeups - is its tail really that off from other Puma concolor?

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gbin
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by gbin » May 3rd, 2012, 11:49 am

Although I believe kinked tails are still appearing in FL panthers, I'm not convinced that your specimen displays the trait, Josh. If it did then I'd think that the tail would appear kinked in all of your photographs, but it doesn't. I suspect the animal was just momentarily curling its tail (as any cat will sometimes do) in your first photograph. Hard to be sure, though.

Gerry

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by BillMcGighan » May 3rd, 2012, 12:14 pm

I'm probably not remembering this right but it seemed that although Pumas across North America can have the kink, it's one of several morphological characteristics, like flecking and a cowlick on the back that is consistent with Florida Panthers.


I worked on two of your pics a little. I'm probably reading in more than there is.


Image

Image

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gbin
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by gbin » May 3rd, 2012, 2:11 pm

I don't remember whether such features were consistent or only prevalent in FL panthers when rescue efforts began (a much more serious problem at that point was cryptorchidism and associated reduced male fertility), Bill, but in any event panthers (and of course their genes, which was the whole point) were introduced from TX as part of those efforts.

Gerry

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Jeremy Westerman » May 3rd, 2012, 3:02 pm

Josh Holbrook wrote:
Jeremy - Yeah, I know the general consensus is that Florida panthers are nothing more than Eastern Cougars, but like you say they still certainly are distinct in terms of habitat, size and a few other things. That said, they did introduce Texas Cougars, and that's going well as far as I know. How big is the population in Utah? I feel extremely fortunate to have seen 5, and actually having gotten photos of two.
Very abundant I would say here in Utah although nobody really knows just how many because any proposed survey strategies have yet to prove effective, but hundreds are taken in the annual hunt every year, and I see abundant sign in most habitat. The Division of Wildlife in Utah just guesses and keep bumping up the number of tags to keep ranchers happy I guess. The only real survey work to my knowledge that has been done is on Florida Panthers and New Mexico Mtn. Lions and both were capture/recapture collar GPS and telemetry surveys.

See following sources

Desert Puma: Evolutionary Ecology And Conservation Of An Enduring Carnivore
Kenneth A. Logan (Author), Linda L. Sweanor (Author), Maurice G. Hornocker (Foreword)
Cougar: Ecology and Conservation
By Maurice G. Hornocker, Sharon Negri, Alan Rabinowitz

As far as the tail kink goes that first shot definitely looked like it but now I am not sure because it was not noticeable in your other shots.

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Dell Despain
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Dell Despain » May 6th, 2012, 8:26 pm

:beer:
Lucky!

-Dell

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pete
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by pete » May 9th, 2012, 8:16 am

TOO COOL!!!!

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soulsurvivor
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by soulsurvivor » May 9th, 2012, 1:57 pm

That's awesome! You are so lucky! I have never seen one, and don't expect I ever will. I just don't get down that far to where they live. Although a coworker swears she has a snapshot of one from her husband's hunting camera up here in Clay County. Not sure I can believe that until I see it....

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Andy Avram
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Andy Avram » May 13th, 2012, 7:22 am

I guess enough time has passed for my jealous rage to cool down, so I can say AMAZING FIND! That would be a life highlight for me!

Andy

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by MichaelCravens » May 23rd, 2012, 1:53 pm

Crongrats! I got my first one just the other night here in AZ. Made my season.

Michael Cravens

Tamara D. McConnell
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » May 24th, 2012, 3:34 am

Such a beautiful creature.

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Denmeade
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Re: Wait, that's not a dog over there!

Post by Denmeade » May 24th, 2012, 2:48 pm

So beautiful and very lucky, Florida Panthers are usually try to keep in the shadows from people, awesome job.

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