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Published:March 3rd, 2011 12:01 EST
Eastern Cougar Declared Extinct

Eastern Cougar Declared Extinct

By Vincent Gonzalez

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday declared the eastern cougar to be extinct. After a lengthy review, federal officials concluded there are no breeding populations of cougars in the eastern United States. Researchers believe the eastern cougar subspecies has probably been extinct since the 1930s.  Wednesday`s declaration paves the way for the eastern cougar to be removed from the endangered species list, where it was placed in 1973. 

Large cats have roamed most of this country for hundreds of years and it`s only in the last 200 years that they have seemingly disappeared from certain areas because of loss of their habitat. They`ve migrated, adapted and become adept at being even more reclusive. The Eastern cougar/puma may be extinct, but with sightings in so many places it`s very possible a few of them have survived and moved to other territories.

The loss of these magnificent animals would be a tragedy. They represent the best of our wildlife and the many beautiful things we still have in our country. I hope the experts are wrong and that there are survivors making a new life in a new place where they can mate, have their young and raise them in relative peace.  

While I don`t want to believe that the animal went extinct; I realize as a wildlife major that it is part of nature for one species of animal to help put another species out to pasture. The amount of species that still exist today is only a fraction of what has existed throughout history. They estimate that there have been what? Four or five great extinctions in the past? It`s unfortunate, but it`s part of nature. I am sure one day humans will also follow the path of extinction.