Talk about a walk in the wilderness! Squeaks, GPS-collared mountain lion, covered 558 miles on his journey from New Mexico to Colorado.
"Squeaks, a sub-adult GPS-collared male mountain lion, said goodbye to Tamaya in early July 2020," the Pueblo of Santa Ana Department of Natural Resources stated in a recent Facebook post highlighting the big cat's journey. "He has traveled 558 miles and is currently on Mesa Verde National Park."
After leaving his home range on July 5th, 2020, Squeaks wandered north into Colorado on August 24th, 2020. The mountain lion spent some time along the Florida River, just south of Durango, before making several attempts to move northward and westward.
On September 28, 2020, the mountain lion crossed under a bridge on Highway 550 located near mile marker 2 where he continued traveling westward into Mesa Verde National Park.
Although it's unclear whether the more than 52,000-acre national park will be this big cat's forever home, he appears to be settling in, at least for now.
Researchers say Squeak's GPS collar collected to date about 2,925 pinned locations. The collar was first placed on the mountain lion on February 12th, 2020.
It's unclear what may have prompted Squeak's long journey, though the typical range of a mountain lion tends to be around 60 to 100 square miles.
The mountain lion, also known as a cougar, puma, or panther, is one of the largest wild cats native to the Americas. Adult males can reach up to 8 feet long and weigh an average of 150 pounds. Females are smaller in size, reaching up to 7 feet long and weighing an average of 90 pounds.
In Colorado, mountain lion populations are estimated to range between 3,000 and 7,000.
Editor's Note: If confronted by a mountain lion, stay calm, and speak firmly. Slowly back away. Do not run, this could trigger a chase. Be big, loud, and use anything such as rocks or sticks to keep space between you and the mountain lion. If attacked, always fight back. To learn more about living safely with mountain lions, click here.