I had a challenging work week this past week and needed “fill my cup” as my partner likes to say, so I went out with my camera to Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had a glorious time and got some images I am very excited about – including this close up of a Cougar (aka Puma, Mountain Lion, Panther). It was taken through a double fence – I was safe – but so close! Although I had placed the fence closest to him in a way that I could see the primary facial features, I still cloned out the visible sections and tweaked some saturation and contrast in PS CS4. No other post editing was done. Crop is as shot with my Fuji FinePix S3Pro and Tamron lens.
View Large if you’d like the Experience
Because of excessive hunting following the European colonization of the Americas and the continuing human development of cougar habitat, populations have dropped in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for an isolated sub-population in Florida. However, in recent decades, breeding populations have moved east into the far western parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Transient males have been verified in Minnesota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Illinois.