Although it is illegal to own a cougar in Louisiana, it is possible that there are some illegally held “pets” in the state. Anyone holding a captive cougar in Louisiana must have a permit issued by LDWF, as captive cougars may compromise public safety. LDWF may issue permits to existing owners in the state in order to reduce difficulties associated with determining the validity of reported cougar sightings.No one said anything about owning a cougar, yet they have to mention it. Just to make sure they put that seed in your mind.
The only species of big cats that occur as black are the jaguar and leopard. Jaguars are native to South America and leopards are native to Africa. Both species can occur as spotted or black, although in both cases the spotted variety is much more common. Although the department receives numerous calls about “black panthers”, there has never been a documented case of a black cougar anywhere in North America.Once again, no one mentioned black cougars. No one claimed this was a black cougar. So what's the point?
The department receives many calls reporting sightings of cougars throughout Louisiana. The vast majority of these reports cannot be verified due to the very nature of a sighting. These animals can move through an area and leave little or no evidence to be found. Many of the calls are found to be cases of mistaken identity. Dog tracks make up the majority of the evidence submitted by those reporting cougar sightings. Other animals commonly mistaken for cougars are bobcats and house cats, usually seen from a distance or in varying shades of light.Yes, I mistake the common house cat for a cougar pretty much all the time, since I'm no animal expert and therefore a complete idiot.
The significant lack of physical evidence leads the department to conclude that Louisiana does not have an established, breeding population of cougars. In states that have verified small populations of cougars, physical evidence can readily be found in the form of tracks, cached deer kills, scat and road kills. The recent occurrences of cougars in Louisiana may be young animals dispersing from existing populations in west Texas. An expanding population in west Texas can produce dispersing individual cougars that move into suitable habitat in Louisiana. Young males are known to disperse from their birthplace and travel hundreds of miles seeking their own territories.
Michigan blamed it on the Dakotas. And now Louisiana blames it on Texas. But no one wants to admit that cougars are pretty much everywhere.