Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eastern Cougar Is Extinct, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Concludes

Although the eastern cougar has been on the endangered species list since 1973, its existence has long been questioned. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) conducted a formal review of the available information and, in a report issued March 2, 2011, concludes the eastern cougar is extinct and recommends the subspecies be removed from the endangered species list.

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

Reports of cougars observed in the wild examined during the review process described cougars of other subspecies, often South American subspecies, that had been held in captivity and had escaped or been released to the wild, as well as wild cougars of the western United States subspecies that had migrated eastward to the Midwest.

During the review, the Service received 573 responses to a request for scientific information about the possible existence of the eastern cougar subspecies; conducted an extensive review of U.S. and Canadian scientific literature; and requested information from the 21 States within the historical range of the subspecies. No States expressed a belief in the existence of an eastern cougar population. According to Dr. Mark McCollough, the Service's lead scientist for the eastern cougar, the subspecies of eastern cougar has likely been extinct since the 1930s.

The Service initiated the review as part of its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. The Service will prepare a proposal to remove the eastern cougar from the endangered species list, since extinct animals are not eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The proposal will be made available for public comment.

The Service's decision to declare the eastern cougar extinct does not affect the status of the Florida panther, another wild cat subspecies listed as endangered. Though the Florida panther once ranged throughout the Southeast, it now exists in less than five percent of its historic habitat and in only one breeding population of 120 to 160 animals in southwestern Florida.

Additional information about eastern cougars, including frequently asked questions and cougar sightings, is at:

Find information about endangered species at



  1. thats actually pretty sad. Another animal lost

  2. I kinda don't like the idea of animals becoming extinct, but at the same time, I feel like it needs to continue happening for the world to evolve. Farewell eastern cougar.

  3. I'm not sure of the range of the cougars, or how to tell what species they are, but I know there is a cougar that lives near my grandmothers house in the middle of no where Pennsylvania. It would be nice to think it was an Eastern Cougar still alive, but it is what it is. Sad loss of a species, but that said, cougars are vicious and dangerous animals.

  4. I think the greatest sin or dishonor a human being could achieve is being directly responsible for the death of an entire species. It is no different from genocide with humans, and we are seeing it more and more every day without anything being done about it. Just a very sad situation....

  5. Aw, that's terrible. While I tend to empathize with humans more than animals, I still think that species becoming extinct as a direct result from human irresponsibility is a shame.

  6. you sure? i seen alot of cougars around my way

  7. I'm not sure a subspecies going extinct has much of an effect on anything. It's certainly a shame, but not much of a cause for alarm.

  8. Master of sadness, eh.. ;/