Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fish and Wildlife declares eastern cougar extinct; species once lived in every eastern state

After a four-year review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that eastern cougars, once seen in every eastern state and Canada, "are extinct and no longer warrant federal Endangered Species Act protections," Laura Zuckerman reports for Reuters. The proposal "comes nearly 80 years after the last of those mountain lions was believed to have been trapped and killed in New England," according to the federal agency. Reported sightings of eastern cougars in recent years were later determined to be Florida panthers or mountain lions that wandered from the West, although some species of smaller wild cats are still found living in the East. (Fish and Wildlife photo: Western cougar)

"Cougars, also known as panthers and pumas, were once the most widely distributed land mammal in the western hemisphere, but extermination campaigns have seen the large wild cats eliminated from roughly two-thirds of their original range, federal wildlife biologists said in a statement," Zuckerman writes. "Eastern cougars were declared endangered in 1973, even though the last known records were tied to one killed by a hunter in Maine in 1938 and another in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1932." (Read more)

No comments: