Eastern cougar officially declared extinct
The eastern cougar is a subspecies of the cougar, which includes the Florida panther and the western cougar. There are multiple subspecies, though exactly how many is debated among biologists. All are called by several names depending on the area, including puma, panther, mountain lion, catamount, cougar and painter.
The eastern cougar’s historic range extended from Maine south to Georgia, west into eastern Missouri and eastern Illinois, and north to Michigan and Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, Canada.
Eastern cougars were killed off by European immigrants protecting both themselves and their livestock. States offered bounties to encourage killing them. The last official records of eastern cougars are believed to be in Maine in 1938 and New Brunswick in Canada in 1932.
It’s true that cougars are still sighted within the eastern cougar’s historic range, but the Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed that all of them are either western cougars or cougars from South America kept as pets and released into the wild, says Meagan Racey, with the Service’s Hadley, Mass. office. It’s known that western cougars are migrating towards the Midwest, Racey says.
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