Known for its outdoor recreational activities, Maine similar to other northeastern states offers a wide variety of landscapes that inhabit distinct animals.
The state is also famous for the Acadia National Park. It is one of the most visited national parks in the country due to the presence of coastal greenery, granite peaks, and diverse wildlife which is unique to this park alone.
The state is also home to a few large mammals like black bears. But, what about mountain lions?
Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about mountain lions in Maine.
Are There Mountain Lions in Maine?
No, there is no established population of wild mountain lions in Maine. Although, few mountain lions have been sighted across the state. It is however believed that these are individuals dispersing from nearby states or have escaped from captivity.
So, as you stroll through the wild forests of Maine, you may spot a mountain lion but remember there are no breeding populations of these creatures in the state and you may just have seen a wanderer from captivity or another state.
How Many Mountain Lions Are in The State of Maine?
As per the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Mountain lions do not exist in the state.
Historically, mountain lions were a native of the state trotting across dense forests and rugged mountains. However, after European settlement across North America including parts of Maine, these ferocious creatures were driven to eradication in the late 1800s. And finally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2018 declared the mountain lions extinct.
While you may never spot them in the wild dense forests of the state, you could always see them in the Maine Wildlife Park. As per state officials, there are 3 cougars on display in the park.
Additionally, the park also provides information on these creatures so that the public and visitors are able to understand the significance of the role these creatures play in the ecosystem.
Mountain Lion Sightings in Maine?
While official records point to the extinction of these magnificent big cats, the public has been seeing them for many years. These creatures are active at night and as such have been photographed and videoed at such times near residential areas.
However, none of these sightings have been confirmed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife sighting anecdotal or improper evidence.
The state often credits these sightings to the misidentification of other big cats like bobcats, lynx and sometimes even coyotes. Note that the last known mountain lion in Maine died in 1938.
Therefore, while it’s rare to spot a mountain lion in Maine, if you do, report the sighting to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife along with proof of your observation.
Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions IN US
Can You Own a Mountain Lion in Maine?
No, you cannot own a Mountain lion in Maine. Similar to other big cats, mountain lions come under exotic animals and are protected by federal and state laws.
Under federal laws, these majestic creatures are classified as “prohibited wildlife species” under the Captive Wildlife Safety Act and therefore it is illegal to privately own them in the state. The act also prohibits the transfer and sale of big cats including mountain lions in Maine.
To ensure the safety of the public, the state has also banned the ownership of these exotic creatures. Additionally, owning wildlife is not just dangerous to your life it will also require special attention.
While the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife doesn’t allow mountain lions to be possessed if you do come across these creatures, observe them from a distance and contact the officials of the department.
Can You Shoot a Mountain Lion in Maine?
No, you cannot shoot a mountain lion in Maine. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife doesn’t consider these creatures as native and hence there are no hunting or trapping season, permits, or regulations.
Moreover, there is no established population of mountain lions across the state. However, if there’s a threat to your life due to these creatures you may shoot them as an act of self-defense and report the killing to MDIFW.
What Wild Cat Is Native to Maine?
While mountain lions do not currently exist in the state, few other wild cats do. The most common wild cat found in Maine is the bobcat (Lynx rufus) weighing an average of 30 pounds.
These are versatile species found and able to survive in various landscapes except with deep snow. The male cats have a range of 30 miles and the female cats have 18 miles range.
The other type of wildcat found in the state is the Canadian lynx which is much rarer than bobcats. These creatures weigh around 18 to 24 pounds and are forest-dwelling creatures mostly found in mountainous areas of the state.
However, similar to mountain lions these other wild cats’ population is also decreasing.
Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In Kentucky
And that was everything you need to know about the mountain lions in Maine. I hope this article was informative and your queries were answered.
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I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.