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Cougar Extinct

Cougar Extinct

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Published by ART'S PLACE
US declares Eastern Cougar extinct.
US declares Eastern Cougar extinct.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: ART'S PLACE on Mar 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/26/2012

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American officials declare eastern cougar extinct, despite sightings in Canada ~l\ _

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RANDY BOSWELL \

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New BrunsWIck museum.
POSTMEDIA NEWS' That finding doesn't square easily with
_. _._._. _._._._._._._._._. persistent reports of cougar sightings in Did the cat come back? Or has the East- several Northeastern U.S. states and in ern cougar - despite hundreds of re- Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and ported sightings in recent decades - been Nova Scotia. The U.S. agency acknow­ dead and gone for 83 years? It appears ledged, in fact, that during its review of the answer depends on which side of the the Eastern cougar's status it received Canada-U.S. border the question is asked. scores of eyewitness accounts that the Less than a year after an Ontario gov- long-tailed, light-brown predator - also ernment wildlife official investigating . known as the puma or mountain lion ­ the matter declared his study had "veri- is still around. "Between March 2007 anti Novem­ fied that cougars do exist in Ontario:' the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an- ber 2010, people from 21 states (Maine nounced Wednesday that they don't to Georgia and west to Oklahoma) and - not in Ontario or any other Canadian from Quebec and Ontario ... told us province or American state in the north- their cougar stories:' said the U.S. wild­ eastern part ofthe continent. life service, which has posted excerpts of After probing scores of reported cougar the described sightings at its website. "We recognize that many people have sightings from across eastern North America over the past 80 years - including sev- seen cougars in the wild within the his­ era! Canadian provinces - the U.S. wildlife torical range of the Eastern cougar;' said agency has formally recommended de- Martin Miller, the agency's northeast region chief of endangered species, in claringthe majestic wildcat extinct. It's natural, said the agency's senior Wednesday's announcement. cougar researcher Mark McCollough, "However, we believe those cougars that "everyone hopes that the species are not the Eastern cougar subspecies. did not go extinct. We don't want to be- We found no information to support the lieve that we've caused the exterrnina- existence ofthe Eastern cougar?' But last June, a senior research sciention of something as magnificent as the Eastern cougar?' tist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural However, the Maine-based biologist Resources said a four-year study in the told Postmedia News following Wednes- province led to the conclusion that cou­ day's announcement, "in all of the lines gars have made a comeback, though in­ of evidence that we have investigated as controvertible proof remains elusive. Among the 30 pieces of evidence col­ part of this review, we can't find anyevidence that would suggest they did per- lected during the investigation were sistor somehow still persisttoday?' droppings, DNA samples and photoThere's no doubt, the USFWS stated, graphs of tracks, MNR scientist Rick Ros­ that a separate population of cougars in- atte said at the time in a ministry posting. The clues were gathered from "the far habits the western parts of Canada and the United States. And there's also a small, northwest of the province to the south;' remnant population of the related Florida Rosatte stated. "So while we know there panther living in the panhandle state in are cougars in the province, we also know they are extremely rare:' the southeastern comer of the U.S. He stated that the Ontario cats could But the four-year Fish and Wildlife Service investigation has concluded that be "remnants of a small native popula­ the last confirmed member of the con- tion" of the Eastern cougar, migrants tinent's eastern sub-species was killed by from the Western Canada subspecies or a Quebec trapper in Maine in 1938, be- escaped captives that have survived in fore being stuffed and put on display in a the wild.

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