From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published March 3, 2011 07:16 AM

Eastern cougar officially declared extinct

The Eastern cougar, a likely subspecies of the mountain lion, was officially declared extinct today by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, ending 38 years on the Endangered Species List (ESA). The cougar, which once roamed the Eastern US, had not been confirmed since 1930s, although sightings have been consistently reported up to the present-day.


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

Cougars sighted in the area may be western mountain lions expanding their range or escaped pets.

Remaining cougar subspecies in the US include the North American cougar, inhabiting the western US, and the Florida panther, which is considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, and survives in a few protected areas in Florida.

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