Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Hall (1981) depicted the historical range as extending from southern Ontario to about Kansas and Missouri; now extirpated from most of range, extant apparently only in northern part. Evers (1992) reported that FELIS CONCOLOR is extant in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Formerly the eastern U.S. and southern Canada, from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, southern Ontario, and Michigan to Tennessee and South Carolina (Handley 1991). Possibly a small population exists in southeastern Canada. Van Zyll de Jong and Van Ingen (1978 COSEWIC report) summarized 1970s reports of occurrence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario, Canada. See Stocek (1995) for a review of recent reports from the Maritime Provinces. Some reported sightings of this species in the eastern U.S. may be authentic but may pertain to escaped or released pets of other subspecies (e.g., see Handley 1991).

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Southwestern Arizona (south of the Colorado River), southeastern California, northeastern Baja California, and northwestern Sonora (Young and Goldman 1946). Specific historic localities include: Hualpai Mountains, including Cottonwood Canyon, Mohave County, Arizona; Burro Creek, Neal Mesa, Mohave County, Arizona; Colorado River, 20 mi. N Picacho, Yuma County, Arizona; Colorado River, 12 mi. below Yuma, Yuma County, Arizona (type locality); vic. Squaw Creek, Kofa Mountains, 50 mi. NE Yuma, Yuma County, Arizona; 6 mi. NW Catavina, Baja California; 18 mi. S Tres Pozos, Baja California (Hall 1981, Hoffmeister 1986). From 1969 to the mid-1980s, there were a few dozen records of tracks and sightings, the majority from along the Colorado River (Duke et al. 1987).

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Historic Range:
Eastern North America

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 274 cm

Weight: 125000 grams

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Length: 200 cm

Weight: 77000 grams

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Diagnostic Description

A medium-sized or rather large, dark subspecies. Differs from subspecies CORYI in having anteriorly more convergent zygomata and narrower, flatter nasals; differs from subspecies HIPPOLESTES of Wyoming in being smaller and having slightly different cranial characteristics (Young and Goldman 1946).

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Based on the relatively few specimens available for study, differs from subspecies AZTECA in having paler coloration, shorter and thinner pelage, and a narrower skull; differs from subspecies KAIBABENSIS in being of smaller size and having a narrower skull and shorter hair; differs from subspecies CALIFORNICA in being paler, having shorter and thinner pelage, and having slightly different cranial characteristics; differs from very similar subspecies IMPROCERA in slightly different cranial characteristics (Hoffmeister 1986, Young and Goldman 1946).

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Type Information

Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 99658
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): H. Cluff
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: Colonia Garcia, [about 60 mi SW Casa Grandes (see Miller and Kellogg, 1955:775)], Chihuahua, Mexico, North America
Elevation (m): 2042
  • Type: Merriam, C. H. 1901 Dec 11. Proceedings of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 3: 592.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 77973
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): T. Hayes
Year Collected: 1896
Locality: Lake Cushman, Olympic Mountains, Mason County, Washington, United States, North America
  • Type: Merriam, C. H. 1897 Jul 15. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 11: 220.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 262116
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): R. Thompson & C. Thompson
Year Collected: 1936
Locality: Missoula, about 10 mi SW, Sleeman Creek, Missoula County, Montana, United States, North America
  • Type: Goldman, E. A. 1943 Jun 08. Journal of Mammalogy. 24 (2): 229.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 57936
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Old adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): J. Burlingame
Year Collected: 1892
Locality: Cora, Wind River Mountains, near head of Big Wind River, Fremont County, Wyoming, United States, North America
  • Type: Merriam, C. H. 1897 Jul 15. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 11: 219.
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Type; Renamed for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 251419
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Young adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): I. Wood
Year Collected: 1934
Locality: Bruni Ranch, near Bruni, Webb County, Texas, United States, North America
  • Type: Goldman, E. A. 1936 Aug 22. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 49: 137.; Renamed: Goldman, E. A. 1938 Mar 18. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 51: 63.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 211519
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skull
Collector(s): W. Kent
Year Collected: 1915
Locality: Campbell Lake, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, North America
  • Type: Nelson, E. W. & Goldman, E. A. 1932 Jul 15. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 45: 105.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 244856
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull; Skeleton
Collector(s): H. Malleis
Year Collected: 1923
Locality: La Libertad, Peten, Guatemala, North America
  • Type: Nelson, E. W. & Goldman, E. A. 1929 Nov 11. Journal of Mammalogy. 10: 350.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 171186
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): J. Owens
Year Collected: 1911
Locality: Powell Plateau, Grand Canyon National Park, Coconino County, Arizona, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 2652
  • Type: Nelson, E. W. & Goldman, E. A. 1931 May 19. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 21: 209.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 125719
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skull
Collector(s): H. Brown
Year Collected: 1903
Locality: Yuma, 12 mi S, Lower Colorado River, Yuma County, Arizona, United States, North America
  • Type: Merriam, C. H. 1903 May 29. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 16: 73.
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Type for Puma concolor couguar
Catalog Number: USNM 137122
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): B. Lilly
Year Collected: 1905
Locality: Vidalia, 12 mi SW, Cocodie Bayou, Concordia Parish, Louisiana, United States, North America
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1911 Jun 16. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 24: 176.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Occupied a wide variety of habitats: swamps, riparian woodlands, mountainous country with good cover of brush or woodland, etc.

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Comments: Desert plains and low mountains of the Colorado River valley (Young and Goldman 1946). Riparian habitats along the Colorado River appear to be essential; cottonwood-willow gallery forests may have been important. Surrounding desert probably is relative unimportant. Mountain ranges supporting oak-conifer woodland probably support an adequate prey base (Ohmart et al. 1988). Records of tracks and sightings from 1969 to the mid-1980s were mainly from along the Colorado River (Duke et al. 1987).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Undoubtedly was highly opportunistic and ate mainly various large and small mammals (deer, livestock, coyote, squirrels, rabbits, mice, etc.), insects, and reptiles.

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Comments: Scat analyses by Cashman et al. (1992) revealed that ungulates (mule deer, collared peccary, cattle, and bighorn sheep) were the primary prey in southwestern Arizona; diet included also various other mammals and (rarely) large lizards.Grinnell (1914) mentioned lions killing hogs along the Colorado River in the early 1900s.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5

Comments: Nearly or actually extinct.

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Global Abundance

1 - 1000 individuals

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General Ecology

Primarily solitary.

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The Eastern Cougar was at one time a top of the line predator with a range stretching through northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Cougars prefer habitat with ample coverage for stalking and ambushing, along with sustainable populations of prey (Laundré, 2013). Prey consists of just about anything that can be caught, including porcupines, but the food of choice is white-tailed deer for this eastern predator. Development and expansion by humans led to an increase in contact with cougars, with the big cats getting the raw end of the deal. Conflicts with farmers, and depredation by hunters rapidly diminished cougar populations east of the Mississippi. To date, cougar signs are scarce, even non-existent in some regions. In 2011 the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the subspecies extinct, although many cougar watch groups insist that there are hidden pockets of cougars in the remaining patches of protected wilderness.

 

Cougars are solitary creatures, and their territories can cover hundreds of square kilometers (Grigione et al., 2002). Today, only a fraction of the lands once inhabited by cougars is still wilderness. This reduction in population and hunting grounds for Puma concolor couguar has had far reaching effects on other species. White-tailed deer, a favorite meal of cougars, have reproduced to astounding numbers with the elimination of natural predators. They have become a nuisance, causing car accidents and heavy damage to trees and shrubs through over foraging.

 

By habit, cougars hunt using stealth and surprise. Their native territories are abundant in trees and rocky outcroppings, as well as heavy underbrush from which to spring ambushes. Cougars cache larger prey that they cannot finish in one meal. They will remain in the vicinity until the stash is finished. In the event of a conflict with other top predators over a kill, the cougar will generally avoid confrontation and leave, even if it was their kill (Kortello et al., 2007). A cougar’s home turf will fluctuate depending on the seasonal movements of prey populations (Grigione, et al., 2002).

 

Female cougars give birth to young year round, although studies have indicated that the months of July-September tend to have higher birth rates. Cubs become independent after approximately 16 months (Laundré & Hernández, 2007). Young males will often travel vast distances, likely contributing to genetic diversity amongst more stable populations. Genetically North American cougars have been shown to be very similar, to the point where some studies have suggested that native North American cougars lack subspecies differentiation (Culver, et al., 2000). North American cougars are genetically distinct from their South American counterparts, and this difference has been a useful tool in identifying whether or not a particular animal is clearly an escaped captive import, or a wild native. This particular question is a large part of the mystery surrounding the current existence of eastern cougars. There is evidence of cougars inhabiting the eastern regions of the US and Canada, but whether they are natives, or immigrants, or escaped captives remains a topic of hot debate.

  • Culver, M., Johnson, W., Pecon-Slattery, J., and S. O'Brien. 2000. Genomic ancestry of the American puma (Puma concolor). Journal of Heredity. 91, 186-197.
  • Grigione, M., Beier, P., Hopkins, R., Neal, D., Padley, W., Schonewald, C. and M. Johnson. 2002. Ecological and allometric determinants of home-range size for mountain lions (Puma concolor). Animal Conservation. 5, 317-324.
  • Kortello, A., Hurd, T., and D. Murray. 2007. Interactions between cougars (Puma concolor) and gray wolves (Canis lupus) in Banff National Park, Alberta. Ecoscience. 14, 214-222.
  • Laundré, J. 2013. The feasibility of the north-eastern USA supporting the return of the cougar Puma concolor. Oryx. 47, 96-104.
  • Laundré, J. and L. Hernández. 2007. Do female pumas (Puma concolor) exhibit a birth pulse? Journal of Mammalogy. 88, 1300-1304.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T3 - Vulnerable

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NH - Possibly Extirpated

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NH - Possibly Extirpated

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TH - Possibly Extinct

Reasons: Native to the eastern United States and southeastern Canada; now nearly or actually extinct due to habitat loss, killing by humans, and former scarcity of prey; remnant populations may persist in southeastern Canada and the adjacent U.S., but it is unknown whether reported sightings pertain to indigenous populations of this subspecies.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled

Reasons: Small range now mostly confined to vicinity of the Colorado River valley of Arizona-California-Mexico; rarely detected; abundance and population trend are unknown.

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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 06/04/1973
Lead Region:   Northeast Region (Region 5) 
Where Listed: Eastern North America


Population detail:

Population location: Eastern North America
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Puma concolor couguar, see its USFWS Species Profile

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Threats

Comments: Believed to be extinct (USFWS 1990), due to predation by humans, habitat loss, and low deer populations in the 1800s.

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Comments: Conversion of riparian habitats to urban and agricultural lands has significantly reduced available habitat (Ohmart et al. 1988).

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Wikipedia

Eastern cougar

Eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar) is considered by many puma biologists to be a subspecies of the North American cougar, while others believe recent genetic research suggests all North American cougars are a single subspecies.[2][3] The eastern subspecies was deemed extinct by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) evaluation in 2011, while a parallel Canadian organization has taken no position on the question.

USF&WS officials believe that cougars found in eastern North America during recent years have genetic origins in South America (as escaped captives) or are from western North America (as wandering individuals). Others say these cats are surviving members of the eastern subspecies.

History of taxonomy[edit]

In 1792, Robert Kerr of the Royal Physical Society and Royal Society of Surgeons assigned the name Felis couguar to eastern North America cougars north of Florida.[4] John Audubon in 1851 believed that cougars in both North and South America were indistinguishable. The eastern cougar was first assigned to the subspecies Felis concolor couguar and the Florida panther (F. c. coryi).[5] Young and Goldman based their description of the eastern subspecies on their examination of eight of the existing 26 historic specimens.[6]

In 1955, Jackson described a new subspecies, the Wisconsin puma (F. c. schorgeri), from a small sample of skulls.[7]

A 1981 taxonomy (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.[8]

In 2000, Culver et al., recommended that based on recent genetic research, all North American cougars be classified as a single subspecies, Puma concolor couguar following the oldest named subspecies (Kerr[5] in 1792).[3]

The 2005 edition of Mammal Species of the World[9] followed Culver’s recommendations. This revision was made by Dr. W. Chris Wozencraft of Bethel University, Indiana, as the sole reviewer. 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 mention the Puma concolor couguar (or eastern cougar) as a subspecies of Puma concolor.[9][10]

Dr. Judith Eger, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, chair of the American Society of Mammalogists checklist committee, believes that the Culver work was improper, as it offered no evaluation of the existing subspecies of the puma and failed to include morphological, ecological, and behavioral considerations. According to Eger, the Culver revision is only accepted by some puma biologists.[1]

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to accept the Young and Goldman taxonomy. "While more recent genetic information introduces significant ambiguities, a full taxonomic analysis is necessary to conclude that a revision to the Young and Goldman (1946) taxonomy is warranted," the agency said in 2011.

Uncertainty of survival[edit]

A consensus exists among wildlife officials in 21 eastern states that the eastern cougar subspecies has been extirpated from eastern United States. The federal government of Canada has taken no position on the subspecies' existence, continued or otherwise, and terms the evidence "inconclusive."[11]

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed all available research and other information, and concluded in 2011 that the eastern cougar subspecies has been extinct since the 1930s, and recommended that it be removed from its list of endangered species.[1] The agency used the 1946 taxonomy of S.P. Young and E.A. Goldman in defining the eastern cougar subspecies. 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."[5]

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. Its review expressed skepticism that breeding populations exist north of Florida, noting, among other things, the lack of consistent road kill evidence comparable to known cougar ranges. However, the presence of cougars in the wild — whatever their taxonomy or origin — in eastern North America, continues to be controversial.[12]

Various residents of eastern North America, especially in rural regions, have reported as many as 10,000 cougar sightings since the 1960s[2] and many continue to believe the subspecies has survived.[12]

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. 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.[13]

Since the 1970s, privately run groups have formed in nearly every state to compile and investigate records of cougar sightings. Many of these groups are convinced that breeding populations of cougars exist throughout the region. Some believe that a conspiracy to hide information or secretly reintroduce cougars is actively underway by state and federal governments. Some endeavor to promote the recovery of cougars in eastern North America.[2] Large numbers of cougar sightings have been reliably reported throughout the Midwest.[14]

Possible colonization of east by western cougars[edit]

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 who have wandered hundreds of miles from their established breeding ranges in the Dakotas or elsewhere in the west.[15]

Eastern U.S. reported sightings, many of which reviewed in the recent federal report,[16] in various locations, including Michigan[17][18][19][20] (See Upper Peninsula), Wisconsin,[21][22] Southern Indiana, Illinois,[23] Missouri,[23][24] Kentucky,[23] Connecticut,[15][25] New York[26] Maine,[27] Massachusetts,[23] New Hampshire,[28] North Carolina,[23] Virginia,[23] Arkansas,[29] Vermont,[23] Alabama[29] Louisiana.[29][30]

Until around 1990, reports of mountain lions in the Midwest and East were highly influenced by the "Bigfoot factor," according to Mark Dowling, co-founder of the Eastern Cougar Network. "None of it was really real," he said in an interview.[31] But the situation has changed dramatically since that time according to Dowling, whose group collects and disseminates data on the shifting mountain lion population.[31]

Dowling said in 2003 that sightings in the eastern half of the nation, including Michigan, etc., were "almost certainly" escaped captives, but he added that the notion that (Western) cougars "will eventually reach New Jersey" is a reasonable prediction, in part due to increased populations of whitetail deer.[31]

However, some of these cougars found far in the east were established to be of western origin. 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. It had wandered at least 1,500 miles before meeting its end at the front of an S.U.V. in Connecticut. That is one impressive walkabout.

"You have to appreciate this cat’s sense of irony, too. The cougar showed up in the East just three months after the Fish and Wildlife Service declared the eastern cougar extinct, a move that would exempt the officially nonexistent subspecies of the big cat from federal protection. Perhaps this red-state cougar traveled east to send a message to Washington: the federal government can make pronouncements about where cougars are not supposed to be found, but a cat’s going to go where a cat wants to go."[15]

Views from Canada[edit]

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.".[32] 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. "Now the answer appears to be 'no.' Experts say past sightings were cases of mistaken identification."[33]

However, the Canadian committee's Web site as of 2011 says that data is "insufficient" to draw conclusions regarding the subspecies’continued existence, or even whether it ever existed at all.[11][12][34]

In March 2011, an official with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources stated that cougars are present in the province.[35] This official said individual cougars in Ontario may be escaped zoo animals or pets or may have migrated from the western parts of North America.[36]

As in the eastern U.S., there have been numerous cougar sightings reported by Canadians in Ontario,[23][36] Quebec,[36] New Brunswick[23] and Nova Scotia[36][37][38][39][40]

The privately run Ontario Puma Foundation estimates that there are 550 Pumas in the province and their numbers are increasing steadily to a sustainable population.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes eastern cougar extinct". fws.org. March 2, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c McCollough, Mark (March 2011). "Eastern puma (cougar) (Puma concolor couguar) 5-year review: Summary and Evaluation". Maine Field Office Orono, Maine: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p. 35. 
  3. ^ a b Culver, M., Johnson, W.E.; Pecon-Slattery, J. and O’Brien, S.J. (2000). "Genomic ancestry of the American puma (Puma concolor)". Journal of Heredity 91 (3): 186–197. doi:10.1093/jhered/91.3.186. PMID 10833043. 
  4. ^ Kerr, R. (1792) The animal kingdom, or zoological system of the celebrated Linnaeus. London, England.
  5. ^ a b c Young, S.P. and Goldman, E.A. (1946) The puma: Mysterious American cat. American Wildlife Institute, Washington, D.C.
  6. ^ Cardoza, J.E., and Langlois, S.A. (2002). "The eastern cougar: A management failure?". Wildlife Society Bulletin 30 (1): 265–273. JSTOR 3784665. 
  7. ^ Jackson, H.H.T. (1955). "The Wisconsin puma". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 68: 149–150. 
  8. ^ Hall, E.R. 1981. The mammals of North America, second edition. John Wiley and Sons, New York
  9. ^ a b Puma concolor. Mammal Species of the World. Bucknell.edu
  10. ^ "North American Mammals: Puma concolor". Mnh.si.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  11. ^ a b Boswell, Randy (March 2, 2011). "Montreal Gazette: U.S. officials declare eastern cougar extinct, despite sightings in Canada". Montreal Gazette, Postmedia News. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c Barringer, Felicity (March 2, 2011). "U.S. Declares Eastern Cougar Extinct, With an Asterisk". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  13. ^ Bolgiano, C. (1995). Mountain lion: An unnatural history of pumas and people. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, ISBN 0811710440.
  14. ^ Suhr, Jim (June 14, 2012). "Study: Cougars again spreading across Midwest". Associated Press. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c Baron, David (July 28, 2011). "The Cougar Behind Your Trash Can". Boulder, Colorado: New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2011. 
  16. ^ Eastern cougar declared extinct, confirming decades of suspicion, a March 2, 2011 CNN News blog post
  17. ^ Johnson, Kirk (March–April 2002). "The Mountain Lions of Michigan". Endangered Species Update (Ann Arbor, MI: School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan) 19 (2): 27–31. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  18. ^ West, Valerie (November 30, 2008). "Cougar sightings prompt dispute among wildlife organizations". Daily Tribune (Journal Register News Service). Retrieved December 10, 2010. 
  19. ^ Bolgiano, Chris; Roberts, Jerry (August 10, 2005). The Eastern Cougar: Historic Accounts, Scientific Investigations, And New Evidence. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. pp. 67–78. ISBN 0-8117-3218-5. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  20. ^ Butz, Bob; Tischendof, Jay W (Foreword) (2005). Beast of Never, Cat of God: The Search for the Eastern Puma. City: Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-446-9.  2005 Winner Michigan Book Award from the Library of Michigan
  21. ^ "Wisconsin DNR Wants Hearings on Killing Cougars". Eastern Cougar. January 26, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Wisconsin DNR Wants Hearings on Killing Cougars". Wisconsin Outdoor Fun. Associated Press. January 26, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lester, Todd (October 2001). "Search for Cougars in the East North America" (PDF). North American BioFortean Review 3 (7): 15–17. 
  24. ^ "Mountain lion killed in Northeast Missouri". Hannibal Courier-Post. January 24, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  25. ^ On June 10, 2011, a cougar was observed roaming near Greenwich, Connecticut. State officials at the time said they believed it was a released pet."Mountain lion reportedly spotted roaming Connecticut town". Fox News. June 10, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2011.  On June 11, 2011, a cougar, believed to be the same, was killed by a car on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford, Connecticut. "Mountain Lion killed by car on Connnecticut highway". CNN. June 11, 2011.  When wildlife officials examined the cougar's DNA, they concluded that it was a wild cougar from the Black Hills of South Dakota, which had wandered at least 1,500 miles east over an indeterminate time.
  26. ^ Van Arsdale, Scott (February 2008). "Big Cat Tales: Investigating Cougar Sightings in New York". New York State Conservationist. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  27. ^ Miller, Kevin (December 3, 2010). "Despite Hundreds of Sightings, Cougar’s Status Remains in Doubt". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  28. ^ McNeil, Kelvin (October 2001). "Some Little Known Cougar Sightings in New Hampshire" (PDF). North American BioFortean Review 3 (7): 20–23. 
  29. ^ a b c "Southeast Sightings". The Cougar Network. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  30. ^ Prevo, Robert (October 2001). "Arkansas "Black Panthers"" (PDF). North American BioFortean Review 3 (7): 51–53. 
  31. ^ a b c "Mountain Lions Headed for Atlantic City?". Insight on the News (Washington) 19 (17): 16–17. August 5, 2003. 
  32. ^ Scott, F.W. (1998). Update of COSEWIC status report on cougar (Felis concolor couguar), eastern population. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  33. ^ Harry Thurston (September–October 1999). "Can the eastern cougar debate be laid to rest?". Canadian Geographic (Ottawa) 119 (6): 18. 
  34. ^ Government of Canada, COSEWIC, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. "COSEWIC Species Database : Results 1–10". Cosewic.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  35. ^ [1][dead link]
  36. ^ a b c d McNeil, Scott (March 5, 2011). "Eastern cougars still exist, Ontario ministry insists: U.S. claim of species' extinction disputed". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  37. ^ MacDonell, Kevin (December 29, 2001). "Cougars in the Maritimes: Fact or Fiction?". Outdoor Nova Scotia. 
  38. ^ Scullion, Ronnie (December 2, 2003). "Review: The Eastern Panther – Mystery Cat of the Appalachians". Outdoor Nova Scotia. 
  39. ^ Government of Canada, COSEWIC, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. "Committee on Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada". Cosewic.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  40. ^ "Eastern Cougar, Nature Canada". Naturecanada.ca. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  41. ^ "Ontario Puma Foundation, Ontario, Canada". Ontariopuma.ca. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 

Further reading[edit]

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North American cougar

The North American cougar (Puma concolor couguar), is the cougar subspecies once commonly found in eastern North America and still prevalent in the western half of the continent. As well as several previous subspecies of cougar of the western United States and western Canada, Puma concolor couguar encompasses the remaining populations of the eastern cougar, where the cat was also known as the panther, the only unequivocally known of which is the critically endangered Florida panther population. Many extinct populations, such as the Wisconsin cougar, which was extirpated in 1925, are also included in the subspecies.

Overall population[edit]

Several populations still exist and are thriving in the western United States, but the North American cougar was once commonly found in eastern portions of the United States and Canada. It was believed to be extirpated in the early 1900s. Cougars in Michigan were thought to have been killed off and extinct in the early 1900s. Today there is evidence to support that cougars could be on the rise in Mexico and could have a substantial population in years to come. Some mainstream scientists believe that small relict populations may exist (around 50 individuals), especially in the Appalachian Mountains and eastern Canada. Recent scientific findings in hair traps in Fundy National Park in New Brunswick have confirmed the existence of at least three cougars in New Brunswick. Some theories postulate that modern sightings and scientific data (hair samples) are from a feral breeding population of former pets, possibly hybridizing with native North American cougar remnants, or claim that cougars from the western United States have been rapidly expanding their range eastwards. The Ontario Puma Foundation estimates that there are currently 850 cougars in Ontario.

Sightings[edit]

Sightings of cougars in the eastern United States continue today, despite their status as extirpated. Cougars with offspring have been sighted in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Michigan in the past fifteen years.[3] There have been verified cougar tracks and kills found in some states, including New York and Michigan. New York has had numerous sightings in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains, while Michigan has had numerous sightings across the state in the Upper Peninsula and now more commonly in the lower part of Michigan. Connecticut and Massachusetts have less sighting, and most are in Western Massachusetts and Northwestern Connecticut, but more evidence is present, including the CT Cougar (a cougar killed in a highway in Connecticut in 2011) and DNA tests of scat in Central Massachusetts in the Quabbin Reservoir in 1997. Virginia has also had many sightings throughout the state. Most recently, New Jersey has seen its share of sightings, with eyewitness accounts dating back to 2007 that continue to increase each year. This may mean they are thriving in Ohio, Pennsylvania (since Michigan and New York have had their evident sightings), and west of New Jersey, in which the life-abundant Appalachian Mountains could support a number of cougars before crossing the Delaware River.

  • Wisconsin
  • Genetic analysis of DNA from a cougar sighting in Wisconsin in 2008 indicated that a cougar was in Wisconsin and that it was not captive. It is speculated that the cougar migrated from a native population in the Black Hills of South Dakota; however, the genetic analysis could not affirm that hypothesis. It is also uncertain whether there are other, perhaps breeding, cougars. A second sighting was reported and tracks were documented in a nearby Wisconsin community. Unfortunately, a genetic analysis could not be done and a determination could not be made.[4] This cougar later made its way south into the northern Chicago suburb of Wilmette.
  • On June 3, 2013, a verified sighting was made in Florence Count, Wisconsin. The cougar was photographed by an automatic trail camera, and confirmed by DNR biologists in October, 2013.[5]
  • Illinois
  • On April 14, 2008, a cougar triggered a flurry of reports before being cornered and killed in the Chicago neighborhood of Roscoe Village while officers tried to contain it. The cougar was the first sighted in the city limits of Chicago since the city was founded in 1833.[6]
  • On November 22, 2013, a cougar was found on a farm near Morrison, Illinois in Whiteside County, Illinois. An Illinois Department of Natural Resource officer subsequently shot and killed the cougar after determining it posed a risk to the public.[7]
  • Connecticut

While most may be former captive animals released or escaped, the possibility of a sustained breeding population either incumbent or from migration is not out of the question.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 544–545. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Cat Specialist Group (1996). Puma concolor ssp. couguar. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 2007-02-07. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this subspecies is critically endangered and the criteria used
  3. ^ "Michigan Citizens Cougar Recognition". MCCR. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  4. ^ "Hills Mountain Lion May Have Migrated To Wisconsin". CougarNetwork. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  5. ^ "Cougars in Wisconsin". Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  6. ^ Manier, Jeremy; Shah, Tina (15 April 2008). "Cops kill cougar on North Side". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  7. ^ Times Staff (22 November 2013). "Cougar shot in Whiteside County". Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Mountain lion killed in Conn. had walked from S. Dakota. Content.usatoday.com (2011-07-26). Retrieved on 2012-12-29.
  9. ^ "Northeast Corfirmation Reports". CougarNetwork. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 

Sources[edit]

  • Wright, Bruce S. The Eastern Panther: A Question of Survival. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin and Company, 1972.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Analysis of mtDNA by Culver et al. (2000) indicated that cougars across North America are genetically homogeneous in overall variation relative to central and South American populations.

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Comments: The few available skulls indicate that this was a well-marked form; coloration is imperfectly known due to few specimens and exposure of those to light (Young and Goldman 1946). However, an analysis of mtDNA by Culver et al. (2000) found that cougars across North America were genetically homogeneous in overall variation relative to central and South American populations.

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Comments: See Merriam (1903) for the original description of subspecies browni, which was based only on one skull. Grinnell (1914) believed "that it is probable that there is really less to distinguish browni from [subspecies] aztecus than the original decription of the former indicates. However, our material proves that there is a well-marked desert form of the cougar" [compared to lions from western California]. According to Young and Goldman (1946), closely allied to subspecies californica, with which it intergrades along the mountain barrier west of the desert area in upper and lower California. A specimen from the Hualpai Mountains area in central western Arizona shows gradation toward azteca (Young and Goldman 1946). The validity of this subspecies probably should be regarded as questionable. Analysis of mtDNA by Culver et al. (2000) indicated that cougars across North America are genetically homogeneous in overall variation relative to central and South American populations.

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