Ghost Cat Gone: Eastern Cougar Officially Declared Extinct

The subspecies has now been removed from the Endangered Species Act, 80 years after its last sighting.

Eastern Cougar Officially Declared ExtinctSay good-bye to the “ghost cat.” This week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially declared the eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar) to be extinct and removed it from the endangered species list.

This news, sad though it is, has been a long time coming. The big cats, once native to New England, were last verifiably observed back in 1938.

The Service first concluded that the species was extinct back in 2011, and then proposed removing its protected status in 2015.

This latest step, taken after extensive scientific review and public comment, completes the eastern cougar’s long journey into the night.

Eastern cougars — also known as “ghost cats,” catamounts, panthers and, of course, mountain lions — disappeared after decades of overhunting on multiple fronts.

The large predators were seen as threats to livestock, which resulted in the cats being actively hunted and bounties placed on their heads.

On top of that, the cats also ran out of their primary prey, deer, which were themselves hunted into near-extinction.

“White-tailed deer were nearly eradicated from the eastern U.S. in the late 1800s,” Service biologist Mark McCollough told me in 2011. “The few cougars that survived [after that] would have had very little food to support them.”

Eastern Cougar Officially Declared Extinct j
Biologist Bruce Wright poses with the body of the last known eastern cougar in 1938. USFWS

Extinct or not, the eastern cougar remains a vital part of New England culture and mythology. Several boys’ and girls’ sports teams in the region are still called the Cougars or Catamounts, and people still think they see the animals quite frequently, although these sightings are usually later proven to be bobcats, lynx or other animals.

A few New England sightings, however, have been confirmed to be escaped captive cougars of other subspecies. One of the most credible reports took place just a couple of miles from where I used to live in Wiscasset, Maine.

Meanwhile cougars from the West are actually expanding their range and repopulating areas where they had once been exterminated. Most of those settle in the Midwest, but one famous mountain lion trekked all the way from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Connecticut a few years ago — a journey of about 2,000 miles.

That particular cat died after being struck by an SUV — like so many of its Florida panther cousins — but it may not be the last western panther to make New England its home, even temporarily.

Many experts feel the Maine woods and other New England locations hold a lot of potential as a possible sites for cougar rewilding as the species continues its eastward expansion. “Biologically, it wouldn’t be hard to resettle them,” McCollough said at a meeting in Damariscotta, Maine, last year. “They could adapt to the East.”

That would be too little, too late to make up for the extinction of the eastern cougar, but who knows, maybe one day soon the forests of New England will once again have their own populations of breeding big cats, not just the ghosts that used to live there.

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

The Importance of Nature

Beautiful, benevolent, and soul restoring, nature waits for us to bring her home. Importance of nature, it's not so much that humanity has destroyed a...

The Largest Plastic Bottles Structure In The World

World’s Largest Plastic Bottle Structure Draws Attention to Global Plastic Pollution Crisis After a flood created a dam where one could cross the Nera River...

Elon Musk is launching a tunnel digging company to make underground roads in busy cities

As Elon Musk sat in Los Angeles traffic, an idea came to him. What if he build giant machines to drill underground and create...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

Oklahoma High Schooler’s Carbon Discovery Elicits Wonder From Experts

Taking teenage rebellion to a new level, Oklahoma high school senior George Wang stunned teachers and fellow students when in April he co-authored a...

The Importance of Nature

Beautiful, benevolent, and soul restoring, nature waits for us to bring her home. Importance of nature, it's not so much that humanity has destroyed a...

Here’s Why One Of The Biggest Environmental Disasters In US History Won’t Be Contained Any Time Soon

Scientists and engineers are finding it difficult to contain the largest natural gas leak ever recorded – since late October, an estimated 73,000 tons...

Drones Being Used to Fight Deforestation in Malaysia

When it comes to unmanned aerial vehicles—also known as drone aircraft—most people think of the War on Terror, missiles raining death from above, or...

Giant ‘Dead Whale’ Is Haunting Reminder of Massive Plastic Pollution Problem

Greenpeace Philippines sent a strong message about plastic pollution with a giant "Dead Whale" art exhibit this month in Naic, Cavite. The 50-foot long whale...

Two Historic Media Events Created to Hide Top Secret Missions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZiQUngMhr4 Think you know history? What about these major events, contrived to cover for top secret operations.  Ready for the real story? Everything from scientific research and...

Wal-Mart’s Water Is Bottled From Drought Stricken California Tap Water

A recent investigation revealed that Wal-Mart is selling bottled water from a Sacramento water facility at a severely marked up rate. Not only are...

Walter Scott Shooting: What They’re NOT Telling You

Nothing has done more to fuel the national debate over police tactics than the dramatic, sometimes grisly videos: A man gasping “I can’t breathe”...

Why You Should Question Everything!

Throughout our history, on every level in any area of life there always has been some kind of manipulation aiming at achieving self-centered goals...