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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Eastern Cougars Declared Extinct

After 38 years as "endangered", the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department finally pulled the plug on the Eastern cougar.

It has been about 80 years since the regionally classified "Eastern" cougar has had a confirmed sighting in the U.S. For the last 38 years the subspecies has been on the Endangered Species List, and today, March 2, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department officially declared the giant cat extinct.

The Northeast Region Chief of Endangered Species was quick to acknowledge that many cougar sightings in the Eastern U.S. have been reported, but that those sightings were never confirmed and were most likely someone's lost household pet or a traveling "Western" mountain lion.

Source: News.mongabay.com

Note: May 20 is Endangered Species Day and in anticipation you can brush up on your facts by taking this quiz about endangered species.



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jared
Apr 02, 2011

There is no way to tell how many mountain lions exist in an area without thorough studies. The easiest and most common way to find one is with the use of treeing hounds. Now that they are officially extinct, it won't be illegal to trail them and will probably result in many more confirmed sightings being reported by houndsmen.

Will G
Mar 27, 2011

We have cougars, otherwise known as panthers, here in Alabama. They are definitely not Western since they growl y'all, ma'am, and ain't when molested.

Larry Gambill
Mar 14, 2011

There is apparently a breeding population of mountain lion in western KY;Tradewater watershed. Certainly not a random sighting. As to Western or Eastern; i saw neither bandana nor spurs!

Tom
Mar 14, 2011

Funny how do these Fish and Game beauocracies determine their "facts"? Here in the city of Port Charlotte between Sarasota and Fort Myers we see Florida cougars on a pretty regular basis. Yes...and I know the difference between a bobcat and a cougar. My neighbor has photographs to prove this. We have seen a Juvenile cougar cross a busy neighborhood street as it slinked along a canal crossing Peachland Blvd.My family has seen (and been woken up at 3AM) by a large 120 lb + cougar in our backyard. As well this same cat has chased my one rat terrier into a neighbors pet door. Granted we live on the edge of a thousand acre mangrove jungle but my point is...there are plenty of these cats around. Hint: Follow the Money (public payrolls)

Anonymous
Mar 04, 2011

In central Pennsylvania there are frequent cougar sightings. The Game Commission denies it of course, and says it is just golden retrievers or german shepherds and people with poor eyesight. My friend, a wildlife photographer saw one crossing the road near his home. The road runs in a valley between two mountains. The cougar crossed the road in front of his car and continued up the mountain along the power line cut. There was no mistaking the animal due to the length of its tail and body, the shape of its body and head, the way it ran, and its size. He was driving and it happened so fast, there was no time for a pic.
There is also talk that what PA folks are seeing is descendants of escaped western cougars who were secretly imported by the PA Game Commission in a secret trial attempt in the 1960-70's to re-establish the population.

Brian R
Mar 04, 2011

I was in Atlantic City last weekend and that place was replete with eastern cougars. I hear they mostly prey on young men.

Stina
Mar 03, 2011

I'm midwest, in st. Louis and they just had a cougar(photographs of it) in the news that was spotted in a suburb and they r spotted in Il. All the time.

Dave Moreno
Mar 03, 2011

For starters: extinction does NOT necessarily mean that there are 0 animals left of a species. It also means that their numbers are too small and wide spread to continue the propagation of the species. IE… They can’t reliably find enough of them to even attempt to force breed them.

The problem here isn't so much about the accuracy of the extinction information. The problem isn't about how nature is selecting them for extinction. The problem is mankind with his infinite need to control everything, take more, and to kill off or hinder the natural world to suit his needs.

Most forms of life breed within the confines of their environment and reach a natural equilibrium with their surroundings. There are three animals that come to mind that bread out of control to the point where they spread like wildfire. They are roaches, rats, and humans.

Roaches and rats actually perform a needed natural service in this behavior. They spread disease and therefore help to balance the equilibrium of other life in the area. Thinning the herd as it were. Just as NATURAL forest fires do.

Mankind, on the other hand, breads out of control, uses surgery and medications to elongate mans’ life. Mankind purposely controls every facet of life possible for all other living things. Go to www.defendersofwildlife.org and take a look at the fight congress is currently waging on other species such as the genetically pure American Bison (Buffalo) the Grey Wolves, our national parks and wildlife refuges and much too many others to list here. They're even trying to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency. None of this is simply my opinion, but cold hard scientific fact attempting to be made law by congress.

The fact is that we as a species need to spend more time thinking about our impact on the earth and less time trying to tame it. Not just for the trees and animals and to satisfy the tree huggers but for our children, and for our children’s children.

But that’s the funny thing. Ads always mention our children and grandchildren because that's about the only way to get people to even think about it. That's really sad and pathetic. We should care about the environment and all other forms of life simply because it's the right thing to do.

So, simply put, if you agree with anything I'm saying here, I implore you to do a little more than you do now. You don't even have to donate any money. Just support non profit organizations like that listed above to help. They're also fighting for your rights to continue to have wild places to go and hike.

No, the Florida Panther is not yet extinct. It is on the endangered species list. Cougars need about 200 square miles for hunting. A family needs a minimum of 400 based on statements made on a documentary I watched “today”. In Florida the human encroachment and geographic changes have taken the Panthers to the brink, mainly just because of lost habitat. The same holds true for other Panthers / Cougars / Etc…

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