Photo: Delaney Frame As Siobhan Darlington approached the tangled branches of a forestry slash-pile between Rock Creek and Grand Forks, B.C., her tracking gear beeped ever faster. A six-year-old female cougar named C10 that Darlington had been monitoring through a satellite-linked collar was beneath the debris. Three months earlier, Darlington had set up a remote camera at one of C10’s deer-kill sites and caught her and a male cougar taking turns rolling around in the dirt. She suspected the bizarre dust bathing to be mating behaviour, but the camera hadn’t caught the two in the act. Now, Darlington had noticed C10 settle into one spot and wondered if she was denning — the timing was right. She set out with field technician Kieran Braid to investigate, and as they approached the slash pile, they paused and listened intently. In the stillness, they heard the unmistakable mewing of kittens only days old. Darlington pulled out her camera, and through the telephoto lens caught the penetrating gaze of C10’s yellow eyes, fixed on them through the branches. The cougar known as C10 peers through the branches of her den where she was rearing her kittens. (Photo: Siobhan Darlington) A month later, […]

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