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Ghost Of A Chance
12 x 16

*Winner of the International Award
at the International Society of Scratchboard 
Artists exhibition 2018

Enigmatic and reclusive, North America's very own "big cat", the mountain lion, hold the Guinness world record for the most number of names it is known by (40). Many people have heard these animals called "pumas" and "cougars" but some other colorful names include "catamount", "swamp lion" and "painter". More impressive, however, is the fact that these animals have the greatest range of any terrestrial mammal in the western hemisphere. The mountain lion ( Puma concolor ) ranges from the Canadian Yukon to the southern end of the Andes in South America. Part of the reason for this extensive range is their ability to remain elusive, while expertly adapting to a variety of habitats including northern forest, tropical jungle, mountain and desert. Generally rocky canyon-like terrain is preferred, probably due to the availability of suitable den sites that are unreachable by humans.

Most of the current range of the mountain lion lies in Western areas of North America, though historically they ranged into Eastern areas. Most Eastern subspecies of mountain lions have been extirpated except for a small, critically endangered population in the very southernmost area of Florida and known as the Florida panther in that region ( Puma concolor coryi ). Researchers speculate that mountain lions in Eastern Canada are those of western animals who have migrated, although skeptics argue that the subspecies was never extirpated in the first place. These cats are highly secretive, traveling and hunting at night. They are very good at avoiding detection. Sightings of mountain lions in Ontario occur from time to time and these animals are listed as endangered in the Province. 

Although the total population of approximately 50,000 mountain lions in the western hemisphere is declining, their ability to adapt to new territory against all odds has given it a ghost of a chance at survival amidst habitat loss, fragmentation and human encroachment