[16], Since the 1970s, privately run groups have formed in nearly every state to compile and investigate records of cougar sightings. Welcome to the Cougar Network. The last confirmed sighting of an Eastern cougar was in 1938, when it is believed that hunters in Maine shot the last one. The eastern cougars were unofficially deemed extinct by a U.S. Until there is confirmation that the Eastern Cougar still survives, no direct recovery actions will take place for this species. The U.S. The Black-footed Ferret is the only ferret species that is indigenous to North America. They have a long tail with a black tip and black markings on the backs of the ears and around the muzzle. Unofficially,in 2011, this long-tailed puma subspecies was considered to be extinct by an evaluationconducted by the U.S. [12], The U.S. Western Wildlife Outreach provides information on: [15], Bruce Wright — a wildlife biologist and former student of Aldo Leopold — popularized the idea that a breeding population of cougars persisted in northern New England and the Maritime provinces through a series of articles and books published between 1960 and 1973. The researchers found that "Nittany Lions are not more similar to each other than to individuals from the Western U.S. and Florida", which only strengthens the position that all North American cougars are a single subspecies. "[14], The FWS reviewed all available research and other information, and concluded in 2011 that the eastern cougar has been extinct since the 1930s, and recommended that it be removed from its list of endangered species. For example, since that time, no Cougars have been reported killed in Ontario, and the one animal killed in Quebec, in 1992, had escaped from captivity.” (Hinterland Who’s Who). As noted in an opinion piece by David Baron in the New York Times, concerning a cougar killed by a car in Connecticut in 2011: "Wildlife officials, who at first assumed the cat was a captive animal that had escaped its owners, examined its DNA and concluded that it was a wild cougar from the Black Hills of South Dakota. An average dropping measures 4 to 6 inches long by 1 to 1½ inches in diameter. Breeding males and females spend only a short time together after which time they separate, with the male playing no role in the rearing of yo… The cougar occupies a wide range of vegetation types. Experts say past sightings were cases of mistaken identification. Cougar There are mountain lions in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the eastern United States, but wildlife officials still call them extinct and haven’t done much to support their populations. A Cougar will locate its prey by scent or sound, slink forward slowly and silently, then pounce when the prey is within reach. The status was re-examined in 1998, and the animal was designated “data deficient” because there was not enough data to evaluate the status of the animal or its classification as a subspecies. Conservation groups said the decision clears the way for eastern states to rebuild cougar populations in habitats such as the Adirondacks and White Mountains using mountain lions from the U.S. West. Cougars were extirpated from the eastern and central parts of North America within 200 years following European colonization, expect of remnant subpopulation in south Florida. It had wandered at least 1,500 miles before meeting its end at the front of an SUV in Connecticut. Except for mothers and cubs, Cougars are usually shy and solitary. [18], Eastern U.S. reported sightings, many of which reviewed in the recent federal report,[19] in various locations, including Michigan,[20][21][22][23] Wisconsin,[24][25] Southern Indiana, Illinois,[26] Missouri,[26][27] Kentucky,[26] Connecticut,[18][28] New York[29] Maine,[30] Pennsylvania,[31] Massachusetts,[26] New Hampshire,[32] North Carolina,[26] Virginia,[26] Arkansas,[33] Vermont,[26] Alabama[33] Louisiana,[33][34] and Tennessee. Fish and Wildlife Service. "[38] Based on this, in 1999, the magazine Canadian Geographic reported that for the previous half century, a debate over whether or not Canada's eastern woods host a cougar species all its own has raged. Complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences were obtained for five of the six individuals sampled, and the results were compared to previously published cougar sequences. [17], At least several dozen or more reported sightings have been confirmed by biologists, many of whom believe they are accounted for by escaped captives or individual members of the western subspecies that have wandered hundreds of miles from their established breeding ranges in the Dakotas or elsewhere in the west. [14][15][40], In March 2011, an official with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources stated that cougars are present in the province. While subadult females with Black Hills DNA have been documented since 2015 in Tennessee, Missouri and Iowa, as of 2018, the easternmost breeding colony north of Florida is the Niobrara River Valley in central Nebraska. "Now the answer appears to be 'no.' The U.S. Both deer and cougars like dense vegetation. On June 10, 2011, a cougar was observed roaming near Greenwich, Connecticut. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, Klandagi/Cougar Rewilding Foundation: Correspondence with Manitoba/Saskatchewan biologists, March/2017, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, "Genomic ancestry of the American puma (Puma concolor)", https://www.fws.gov/northeast/ecougar/newsreleasefinal.html, https://www.fws.gov/northeast/ecougar/pdf/Cougar_News_Bulletin_Final_1_18.pdf, "U.S. Either way, the result is that Florida now has a viable population of panthers that were once on the brink of disappearing forever. [5] John Audubon in 1851 believed that cougars in both North and South America were indistinguishable. When hunting, Cougars typically kill their prey by suffocating them with a prolonged bite across the throat that eventually collapses the victim’s windpipe. The federal government of Canada has taken no position on the subspecies' existence, continued or otherwise, and terms the evidence "inconclusive. Wright based his idea mostly on unconfirmed sightings, track photos, and plaster casts, and photographs of pumas killed in New Brunswick in 1932 and in Maine in 1938. If the Eastern Cougar does still exist, it is possible the population may recover if deer populations increase and forests grow again on the existing logged land. Logging in the eastern forests, human settlement, and habitat disturbance from activities like mining are responsible for the sharp drop in Cougar populations. However, the publication's Web site as of 2011, as well as that of its affiliate, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, continued to maintain the Puma concolor couguar (both western and eastern cougars) as a subspecies of Puma concolor. Cougars travel long distances for food, often using the same routes and marking their territories with scratched scent posts. The eastern cougar was first assigned to the subspecies Felis concolor couguar and the Florida panther to F. c. The Baird's Sparrow song is a series of notes followed by a trill. In 2015, the agency determined the eastern cougar no longer warranted protection under the Endangered Species Act and planned to de-list it. Small prey, such as Mule Deer fawns, are more likely to die from a broken neck caused by a single bite. [15], Various residents of eastern North America, especially in rural regions, have reported as many as 10,000 cougar sightings since the 1960s,[1] and many continue to believe the subspecies has survived. At one time, they lived in every Eastern state in a variety of habitats including coastal marshes, mountains and forests. [37], A 1998 study for Canada's national Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada concluded "that there is no objective evidence (actual cougar specimens or other unequivocal confirmation) for the continuous presence of cougars since the last century anywhere in eastern Canada or the eastern United States outside of Florida. Eastern cougars (mountain lions) do not have a native, self sustaining population in New York State. Habitat: The cougar thrives in montane, coniferous forests, lowland tropical forests, swamps, grassland, dry brush country, or any other area with adequate cover and prey. [50] According to the Center for Biological Diversity, "The eastern cougar was extinct well before it was protected under the Endangered Species Act, as was the case with eight of the other 10 species that have been de-listed for extinction. Status under SARA: Data Deficient. Several populations still exist and are thriving in the Western United States, Southern Florida, and Western Canada, but the North American cougar was once commonly found in eastern portions of the United States.It was believed to be extirpated there in the early 1900s. Cougars prefer densely forested areas in coastal swamps, rocky cliffs and mountain ranges as their habitat. Yes, it was classified as extinct in the year 2011. In 2011, the USFWS opened an extensive review into the status of the Eastern cougar; and in 2015, federal wildlife biologists concluded that there was no evidence of a viable population left. Goldman in defining the eastern cougar subspecies. They prefer habitat with enough brush to aid their ambush hunting style, but can also be found in more open areas. To lumpers, a cougar is a cougar no matter where it lives. Eastern Cougar Sightings Mountain Lions in New York. Copyright © Nature Canada. Western mountain lions are confirmed to have occasionally ventured as far east as Connecticut, with reported sightings even further in Maine. Home range size depends on the density of prey, and in … The eastern panther (mountain lion or cougar) is now extinct and no longer has a niche in its former habitat. It prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it also lives in open areas. Prior to that decision, the Mountain Lion Foundation sponsored a petition to urge the opposite, suggesting FWS work to support the eastern cougar’s repopulation of the Blue Ridge Mountains instead. Eastern cougar or eastern puma (Puma concolor couguar) refers to the extirpated population of cougars that live in northeastern North America,[1][2] which some authorities have considered to be a subspecies. "None of it was really real", he said in an interview,[36] but the situation has changed dramatically since that time according to Dowling, whose group collects and disseminates data on the shifting mountain lion population. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes eastern cougar extinct", "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group", "Montreal Gazette: U.S. officials declare eastern cougar extinct, despite sightings in Canada", "U.S. Declares Eastern Cougar Extinct, With an Asterisk", "Study: Cougars again spreading across Midwest", Eastern cougar declared extinct, confirming decades of suspicion, "Cougar sightings prompt dispute among wildlife organizations", "Wisconsin DNR Wants Hearings on Killing Cougars", "Search for Cougars in the East North America", "Mountain lion killed in Northeast Missouri", "Mountain lion reportedly spotted roaming Connecticut town", "Mountain Lion killed by car on Connecticut highway", "Big Cat Tales: Investigating Cougar Sightings in New York", New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, "Despite Hundreds of Sightings, Cougar's Status Remains in Doubt", "Some Little Known Cougar Sightings in New Hampshire", Tennessee Officials Confirm First Cougar Sighting in 100 Years, http://outdoornebraska.gov/mountainlions/, "COSEWIC Species Database : Results 1–10", "Eastern cougars still exist, Ontario ministry insists: U.S. claim of species' extinction disputed", "Cougars in the Maritimes: Fact or Fiction? These majestic creatures need large and undisturbed tracts of forest habitat. Cougars were once found all over North America. [8], A 1981 taxonomy by Hall accepted F. c. schorgeri, the Wisconsin puma, and also extended the range of the eastern puma into Nova Scotia and mapped the Florida panther's (F. c. coryi) range as far north as South Carolina and southwestern Tennessee. Habitat vs. Niche Description The Eastern Cougar lives in many different habitats, including tidal marshes, deserts, mountains, and tropical forests. Fish and Wildlife Service evaluation in 2011. Many of these groups are convinced that breeding populations of cougars exist throughout the region. Size: Male Cougars reach two metres in length and weigh over 100 kg. However, some of these cougars found far in the east were established to be of western origin. In the 1990s, Todd established the eastern cougar listserv as a forum for people with an interest or expertise in eastern cougar history and biology. Eastern Cougar - Felis concolor cougar Contributed by John Garton, SCWF Board Member Emeritus . Common name: Eastern Cougar The genetic bloodline of eastern cougars, however, was declared extinct by the Department of Fish and Wildlife in early 2011. Life Span: Unknown, but possibly up to 21 years While for cougars, such vegetation offers stalk cover, for deer, it is an escape cover. In order to hide its kill from scavengers, a Cougar will cover its victim with debris between feedings. Eastern cougars historically ranged from Michigan, southern Ontario, eastern Canada and Maine south to South Carolina and west across Tennessee. Why is the eastern cougar extinct? Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) continues to accept the Young and Goldman taxonomy. Females are slightly smaller. In the dense hardwood forests of eastern Canada, the Cougar prowls – or might prowl. Science & Conservation "The cougar is a keystone species on which one can design landscape-level conservation strategies…as well as an umbrella species, because conservation strategies benefiting cougars also benefit an array of other life forms living in intact ecosystems.” (Logan and Sweanor 2001). In the dense hardwood forests of eastern Canada, the Cougar prowls – or might prowl. It is uncertain whether there are any Eastern Cougars left in Canada. While noting that some taxonomists in recent years have classified all North American cougars within a single subspecies, the agency's 2011 report said, "a full taxonomic analysis is necessary to conclude that a revision to the Young and Goldman (1946) taxonomy is warranted. Each sighting involved cougars that are not native to New York. In order for the Eastern Cougar to survive, areas of land must be protected from human activity. [42], As in the eastern U.S., numerous cougar sightings have been reported by Canadians in Ontario,[26][42] Quebec,[42] New Brunswick,[26] Nova Scotia,[42][43][44][45][46] and Newfoundland. Eastern cougars historically ranged from Michigan, southern Ontario, eastern Canada and Maine south to South Carolina and west across Tennessee. During the twentieth century, Cougars were reported in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, but some of the sightings proved to be encounters with Cougars from other areas that had escaped from captivity. Weights range from 80-225 pounds (36-103 kg), averaging 140 (64 kg). There is no objective evidence (actual Cougar specimens or other unequivocal confirmation) of the continuous presence of Cougars in eastern Canada since the nineteenth century. However, the presence of cougars in the wild — whatever their taxonomy or origin — in eastern North America continues to be controversial. [52] The Nittany Lion genome project took samples from preserved eastern cougar skins to obtain DNA for sequencing and further analysis. Cougars are protected from hunting and killing in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. With the exception of Florida, the cougar has been considered extirpated from states east of the Mississippi River since the 1900s. Habitat Eastern cougars, not surprisingly, used to thrive mainly in eastern states in the U.S including Florida, and most of the South East including Texas and parts of Tennessee. They can be found in forests, mountains, deserts, swamps, and areas of human development. And nowhere is this crisis more evident and well documented than in the East’s deciduous forests. “The distribution of the Eastern Cougar in Canada and the validity of considering it a subspecies have been questioned. According to Eger, the Culver revision is accepted only by some puma biologists. The deer population in New Brunswick is high enough to support 140-250 Cougars. Cougars are the most widely distributed large predator in the Western Hemisphere. "[6], The agency acknowledged the occasional presence of cougars in eastern North America, but believes these are of wanderers from western breeding ranges or escaped captives.