On Saturday, Travel Guide Book shared an image showing the hindquarters of an elk and, somewhere in the arroyo, a predatory mountain lion.
Research reveals the image was captured by a motion-sensor trail camera in October 2019 as part of an arroyo restoration project in New Mexico’s Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge.
Rio Mora shared the image as a quiz for his Facebook followers in July 2020. It’s a tough quiz and the answer is provided at the bottom of this post.
A common theme in the travel guide’s comments section: “It took a long time.”
Several followers of Rio Mora had difficulty locating the puma and one of them used a magnifying glass to succeed.
This is understandable, given that pumas, or cougars, are ambush predators that rely on stealth to catch their prey.
Rio Mora, a week after its original post, shared more footage captured by the same camera over a two-minute period. It includes the image used for the quiz and one that shows the mountain lion, prominently visible, following the elk (shown below).
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The images, which would be helpful if you haven’t spotted the cougar already, provide a clearer picture of this predator-prey interaction.
Rio Mora said in his description, “The entire photo series is two minutes long. Unfortunately, this doesn’t tell us the final fate of the moose, but it may answer questions some of you had.
“You can tell based on the size and the antlers, it’s a juvenile male Rocky Mountain elk being stalked by a stealthy mountain lion.
“We asked people who have worked with cougars to see if they could tell us more about the sex or age of the cougar. It’s hard to say for sure because cougars don’t have a very distinctive features between the sexes, but it could be a young adult male.”
Some subscribers were puzzled even after viewing the series of images. Among the comments was this one from Judy Hammond: “And that’s why we have our 6th sense, this gut feeling that we’re being watched or stalked. Always pay attention to your surroundings, especially if the hair on the back of your neck rise.”