The American Eastern Cougar is now Extinct

The Eastern Cougar is no more

The Eastern Cougar has been declared officially extinct

In March of 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife service declared the American Eastern Cougar extinct.

For years, conservationsits had debated whether or not there were still any of the big cats left, since there have been so few sighting of them, and none confirmed. The cougars lived in mountainous regions of the eastern United States. Over the last 50 years, there have been only 108 reported sighting of these rare cats, none of which have been confirmed with photographs or witnessed by experts. The Eastern cougar had gotten the nick-name "ghost cat" because of this. Many believe that the cats have been extinct since the mid-20th century, while others maintained that they had merely taken to eluding humans.

In 2007, the US Fish and Wildlife service began reviewing records of cameras on trails, as well as studying roadkill and other animal remains. They also re-examined recent eyewitness accounts. Their research has found no evidence of a live Eastern Cougar in over 50 years.

The Eastern Cougar once thrived in the American east. However, during the 20th century, the cats fell victim to excessive hunting. Also, their main source of food--the White Tailed Deer--had also been on the endangered species list, due to hunters. This created a food shortage for the cougars. The recent, sudden increase of White Tailed Deer is also taken as evidence that their main predator is extinct.

Due to the overwhelming evidence, the Fish And Wildlife service has moved the Eastern Cougar from the endangered species list to the extinct species list. It's sad that these beautiful cats are no more!

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Comments 22 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"However, during the 20th century, the cats fell victim to excessive hunting."

I'm interested in this. Do you have a source for your statement that they were hunted to extinction?


liquidvortex profile image

liquidvortex 5 years ago

That really is very sad indeed, it is such a beautiful animal too. Man is very cruel to have hunted such a wonderful creature.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Will; Hunting was part of it. As I said in the hub, the decrease in Deer and deforestation were also contributing factors. Fish and Wildlife, as well as several articles I've read on the subject, include hunting as a big part of the cougar's extinction.

Hi Liquidvortex; It is very sad. They were beautiful. People can be cruel.

Thanks for reading,

Rob.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Well that is very sad....very very sad. Not much more to say than ....sometimes man can do some really bad things. Voted up.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

You're right, cogerson. There isn't much else to say. So sad.


Multiman 5 years ago

Voted up, but such a sad outcome, we are really a great species for elininating otehr species.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi multiman; You're right. We're way too good at wiping other species out.


AlabamaGirl86 profile image

AlabamaGirl86 5 years ago

Somewhat of a depressing hub, but thanks for sharing this bad news.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I wish I hadn't had to write it, Alabamagirl. It is extremely depressing.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

How can we constantly destroying ourself, knowing it , and carry on? I wil never understand this world.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I've read elsewhere that there is no discernable difference between the eastern and western cougars, so the species is not extinct. It just doesn't range in the east anymore.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi HH. I can't understand it either. What's wrong with us?

Rob

..

Will;

By any chance, are you a hunter?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Will;

By any chance, are you a hunter?"

I am, but I've never hunted cougars. In any case, you never provided any evidence that hunting was responsible. The most likely reason was loss of habitat. The East is heavily populated, but the West, where cougars thrive (and they are hunted!) is not.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

OK, thanks for the opinions, Will.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Opinions?

In California, where cougars are protected, they are becoming a menace. We've even had human attacks in Arizona, in the cities! Hunting cougars is legal in Arizona, with a permit.

Both states have thousands of acres of wilderness. The eastern states do not. No habitat...no cougars.

Tell me; when was it last legal to hunt the eastern cougar?


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Will; Here are 3 of MANY sources that I've read which claim that hunting was partly responsible for the extinction of the eastern cougar.

http://www.care2.com/causes/animal-welfare/blog/ea...

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

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/02/outdoors/fed...

I've got many more, but this is all a digression. The point here is that another species of creature is gone from the earth, and this is not a good thing. You're taking it as a personal insult, but this isn't a "Hunters are evil" hub. It's about a horrible event and I'm reporting the facts. Starvation, deforestation and hunting were the combine causes.

So let's just respectfully agree to disagree because I'm frankly not inclined to argue about this any longer. I've been an environmentalist for 20 years with Greenpeace and other groups, and I've spent far too many hours arguing with hunters over the years. I've been punched and even shot at once. I know how passionate hunters can get, so I'm not going to go another 12 rounds about this because neither one of us is going to bend.

These beautiful creatures are gone, and this hub is my memorial to them.

Rob


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

OK, I caught your attack on hunters, so now I know what this is all about.

Have a nice day.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Anyone who believes 100% in every thing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife puts out should reconsider. Why? I live close to the southern Appalachians. For many years these 'Cougars' have been seen by people from all walks of life over & over in these mts., there was a road crossing sighting by two well respected gentlemen not 3 or 4 months ago.. When reported over time to State Game the pat answer was always, misidentification, period. Whether escaped cats, released pets, remnant population or some combo, that does not equal extinct. I saw their tracks in the late 1980s with my on eyes on a mud bank, in a most inaccessible spot beside a small river. The ones left are the canniest of the canny as only the right DNA made it. Why aren't they treed in hunting? They learned that meant death & adjusted. Their much smarter than most folks believe. Thanks sincerely Robwrite, you've given me a good idea for a future hub.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Well, I hope you're right, Alastar. I'd love to believe that these cats are still out there somewhere. As both a Buddhist and a conservationist, life is sacred to me, even a cougar's. Sadly, the evidence seems to be against it.

Rob


Alaster Packer 5 years ago

Robwrite, life is sacred to me to. And you are a decent human being and intelligent. What do you think personally on the facts stated above. I know animal tracks well and these were 3x3 cats track not a large dogs with the any retractions. There are 1000s of square miles in these mts. that no humans frequent. the amazing thing was the cat forded the small river at its least likely spot any man or animal would have found them and the only reason I did is because I cut through 30 ft or so of tangled underbrush to get to a spot were I saw a large fish jump. Peace my friend.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

You make a compelling case, Alaster. You have more first-hand knowledge of the area than I do. If you saw the tracks personally and you're sure they were cougar tracks, than I'll take it as a hopeful sign. I hope they are hiding. It's possible.

Nameste,

Rob


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Robwrite. I meant to put a link to the hub but left out Eastern. Will correct.Thanks.

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