Eastern Cougar Declared Extinct

Federal researchers officially declared the eastern cougar extinct yesterday. The “ghost cat” was thought to have been extinct since the 1930s, but was placed on the endangered species list in the 1970s because of the numerous sightings. The eastern cougar was given the nickname “ghost cat” because no one ever recorded a sighting of one. People claim to have seen them, but there’s just no evidence.

Some locals to the backcountry of the eastern United States still believe they exist. From Yahoo:

Ray Sedorchuk, 45, an avid hunter and outdoorsman, said he got an excellent look at a cougar last June in rural Bradford County, in northern Pennsylvania. He was in his truck when a reddish-brown animal with a long tail crossed the road. He said he jammed on the brakes, and the cougar stopped in its tracks.

“I could see the body, the tail and the head, the entire animal, perfectly. It’s not a bobcat, it’s not a housecat, it’s a cougar,” he said. “It’s a sleek animal. It ran low to the ground and stealth-like. It moved with elegance.”

Sedorchuk, a freelance writer who spends copious amounts of time in the woods, said he’d always been skeptical of the eastern cougar’s existence, even as two of his friends insisted to him that they had seen them in the wild.

And now?

“I believe that they’re here, without even thinking twice about it,” he said. “I believe there aren’t that many, but there are enough where they can get together and breed.”

The loss of cougars over the decades has resulted in the massive population explosion of white-tailed deer. The Eastern Cougar Foundation is trying to get the Federal Government to reintroduce cougars to the eastern United States.

What do you think about the eastern cougar being declared extinct? Do you think there’s a chance we could still have an extremely small population living, undetected?

eastern cougar

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