Eastern Cougar is Extinct says U.S. Fish and Wildlife


Bruce Wright, New Brunswick wildlife biologist and author, with what is believed to be the last eastern cougar. The cougar was trapped by Rosarie Morin of St. Zacharie, Quebec, in Somerset County, Maine, in 1938. The mounted specimen resides in the New Brunswick Museum in St. John, New Brunswick. (Image: USFWS)

On Wednesday, March 2, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that the eastern cougar is extinct.

While the cat subspecies had been on the endangered species list since 1973, its last confirmed sighting was in the 1930s and its existence had long been questioned.

So what about those occasional cat sightings on the East Coast in the decades since?

“We recognize that many people have seen cougars in the wild within the historical range of the eastern cougar,” said Martin Miller, the service’s Northeast Region Chief of Endangered Species in a press release. “However, we believe those cougars are not the eastern cougar subspecies. We found no information to support the existence of the eastern cougar.”

Cougars reportedly seen in the eastern cougar's range were likely other subspecies, such as South American subspecies that escaped captivity or had been released to the wild, or wild cougars of the western United States that had migrated eastward.

The eastern cougar has likely been extinct since the 1930s, according to Dr. Mark McCollough, the service’s lead scientist for the eastern cougar.

Read the full U.S. Fish and Wildlife press release.

(via Backpacker)


Filed under: People & Organizations

Comments

mikekey
19 reviewer rep
160 forum posts
March 3, 2011 at 11:28 p.m. (EST)

What are the differences between these types of Cougars? 

I know for a fact me and a good friend saw a large tan cat, larger than a bobcat in Shenehdoah in 09.

Explorer Robby
141 reviewer rep
218 forum posts
March 4, 2011 at 5:50 a.m. (EST)

Cougar sitings (verified ones) are on the rise in the Southern US. These are all cats that have migrated from the West (proven by DNA sampling). With the increase in cat migration, it is only  a matter of time until a new breeding population takes hold in the Eastern states.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
501 reviewer rep
2,997 forum posts
March 4, 2011 at 9:22 a.m. (EST)

There is also a very small population of Florida panthers, which are endangered.

See also:

http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ecougar/

http://www.easterncougarnet.org/network.html

 

gonzan
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts
March 4, 2011 at 9:49 a.m. (EST)

I am not surprised that the USFWS has reached this conclusion, but nor would I be surprised in the least it at some point in the future a surviving population was confirmed in the heart of Appalachia, either.

Case in point:  the Ivory Billed Woodpecker was classified as extict for many years. Until last year when the little tricksters reapeared, with confirmed sightings.

The TWRA has denied there are ANY cougars in Tennessee, and that claim is just a steaming pile of cat dung. 

f_klock
110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts
March 4, 2011 at 10:14 a.m. (EST)

Presumed to be extinct in the 30s but placed, by the government, on the endangered species list in the 70s. Kinda makes you go hmmm, doesn't it?

denis daly
87 reviewer rep
1,058 forum posts
March 4, 2011 at 10:25 a.m. (EST)

What are the differences between these types of Cougars? 

I know for a fact me and a good friend saw a large tan cat, larger than a bobcat in Shenehdoah in 09.

 I've had friends go out in Jefferson National forest and say they have seen Cougar's..Do I believe them yes...Does USFW actually know because they haven't collard one. I highly doubt it...I find theory is not practicle at times and money for research or tracking is decreaseing do to budget cut's.That and I really get urked when I hear the term " Expert"..Thats a giant miss conception..I am sure many people can name alot of so called "Experts" in many fields that their theories have been disproven...

yooperman
4 reviewer rep
70 forum posts
March 6, 2011 at 7:00 a.m. (EST)

there have been numerouse sitings of cougars in michigans u.p. but i guess no one ask dem if day were eastern or western types but im sure if day would have some one would have cried predgedus(.lol) i tink a few sitings in l.p. as well.                                                                                                       

wirerat123
46 reviewer rep
1 forum posts
March 7, 2011 at 11:35 a.m. (EST)

I'm not buying it, they have been seen in Tennessee, and Alabama.  Sounds like these guys still have their blinders on.  I guess if they just say they are extinct they don't have to attempt to conserve the remaining population.  I'd be willing to bet it's more about not wanting to have to do their jobs than it is about conservation.

Howard Hayden
8 reviewer rep
11 forum posts
March 18, 2011 at 5:42 p.m. (EDT)

Poor kitty!  We love our Cougars out here in the Soviet of Washington!  And there are lots of them, now in protected status, in the Pacific Coast States. I agree with the posting which predicted the mixing of cat reproductive information as the animals move about and ''discover'' new friends among kitties. But we have not had any encounters between hikers/campers and cats, and I have been out in the Cascade Range a lot, and I have seen only a few of these cats...one thinks that ...''oh! Someone's Yellow Lab is out here, running around!'' Then you see a three-foot long or more tail attached!!  Meow!  No, I do not leave my car and call out, ''Here, kitty kitty!''  People go for years and never see wonderful wild creatures...I look forward to being out there, in wild places.  Meow!

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
March 20, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT)

I am gonna have to disagree with the assumption that they are extinct here in the east. A buddy of mine has encountered one while spotting deer and I have seen tracks on 3 seperate occasions within the past months in different locations. They are very elusive animals to say the least and typically stay out of the site of humans.

Steven Most
0 reviewer rep
2 forum posts
March 30, 2011 at 4:12 p.m. (EDT)

What a shame if it's true.  How embarrassing for human beings that we are still so afraid of wild predators of all kinds that we routinely kill them when they show up outside of their "habitats".  Just the other day a cougar was shot by "the authorities" in someone's back yard in the west.  What, never heard of a tranquilizer gun?  Fear....the most powerful emotion.  

Don't be fooled.  The conservative movement is no friend of wildlife, open space, wilderness, clean air or water, healthful food, or ANYTHING "natural".  Why?  Because there's no money in it.  Plain and simple.

N2DaWild
122 reviewer rep
69 forum posts
April 7, 2011 at 10:30 p.m. (EDT)

It seems that US Fish and Wildlife Service officials evaluated data from several sources between 1930 and the present and determined that the Eastern Cougar was extinct. Hence, there request to remove it from the list.

It appears that the USFWS differentiates the Eastern Cougar from the rest of the species, claiming that it is a sub-species of the North American Cougar. Also, some federal agencies make official references to verified sightings/ contacts of cougars in the eastern portions of the U.S. as those that wandered from the west and also to some extent - South America. But, apparently attributing the sightings as those cougars not directly related to the Eastern Cougars. Therefore, debunking common folk's claims of seeing cougars as proof positive existence of the Eastern Cougar.

The general concensus seems to point in the direction that the Eastern Cougar is within the species group of the North American Cougar.

It would appear to me as no real world evaluations were utilized and that the USFWS used wording to justify there position on this subject.

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
May 5, 2011 at 4:18 p.m. (EDT)

Always hurts to see a cat (cougar) taken by authorities,  especially in that they often don't have patience to wait and capture but rather kill.  I know the cougar is dangerous but still a part of nature that I would like to see around for a lot longer.

N2DaWild
122 reviewer rep
69 forum posts
May 10, 2011 at 11:46 p.m. (EDT)

Everything has it's place. 

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
May 10, 2011 at 11:57 p.m. (EDT)

N2DaWild ,  not sure how to take that comment/post of yours, maybe you could extend it a little ?

Thx

N2DaWild
122 reviewer rep
69 forum posts
May 11, 2011 at 9:11 a.m. (EDT)

Callahan,

My apologies. I was agreeing with your comment in that.......it would be our loss to have the cougar disappear and not retain it's place in the bio-ecological system. 

The cougar, in my view, is a part of the everything that I was referring to. 

I was in agreement with your statement that ...........it always hurts to see a cougar taken.

Robert Rowe
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
May 11, 2011 at 10:23 a.m. (EDT)

There were tracks spotted in Northern Delaware / North-Eastern Maryland, a couple years ago ... along seldom-used railroad.   DNR (Dept Nat'l Resources) identified as likely cougar.

r2

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
May 12, 2011 at 12:57 p.m. (EDT)

N2DaWild said:

Callahan,

My apologies. I was agreeing with your comment in that.......it would be our loss to have the cougar disappear and not retain it's place in the bio-ecological system. 

The cougar, in my view, is a part of the everything that I was referring to. 

I was in agreement with your statement that ...........it always hurts to see a cougar taken.

 Arh yeah I thought so.  It was momentarily ambiguous but I always had hope.  Now it is as clear as the sky after a rainy day.

N2DaWild
122 reviewer rep
69 forum posts
May 12, 2011 at 1:58 p.m. (EDT)

lol.

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
May 13, 2011 at 11:33 a.m. (EDT)

You laughing at me Willis

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