Maps Of Where Bison, Elk, And Cougars Used To Roam America Will Blow Your Damn Mind
I tend to think of Bison, Mountain Lions (cougars), and Elk as species which are distinct to the Western portion of the United States. Sure, we’ve got the Florida Panther sub-species of cougar here in The Everglades but when I think ‘mountain lion’ I think of Colorado, Wyoming, and states like that out West.
I knew that there are small pockets of elk in Tennessee/Kentucky but I had no idea that they were found in Pennsylvania and Arkansas. I also had no f’n clue that at one point in history (for hundreds/thousands of years) bison roamed as far South as the Florida panhandle.
The range of iconic American species has drastically shrunk throughout the history of the United States, and in a Twitter Moments thread last night a bunch of scientists began sharing maps of the historical range vs current range for Bison, Elk, Cougars, Caribou, and more. It’s pretty wild to see how much land these species used to inhabit in America, to think about how there could be jaguars roaming the streets of San Diego or Bison running through the woods of Tallahassee:
The American Red Wolf:
It makes you wonder what America would look like in 2017 if the early settlers hadn’t hunted everything in their pathway. They had to eat and had to protect themselves against threats, but there’s no denying that the massacre of bison was the literal definition of overkill. It’s also crazy to think about red wolves roaming throughout Miami. It’s so damn hot and humid I can’t imagine any animal with heavy fur ever finding the climate of south Florida desirable.
To check out the full Twitter Moments thread just follow that link.