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Eastern Cougars Are Officially Declared As Extinct

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According to certain scientific estimates, roughly 150 to 200 species of insects, birds, mammals, and plants go extinct every single year. It is possible that as many as 2,000 creatures go extinct every year.

That said, we are quite sad to report that the eastern cougar has been declared extinct. Those big cats used to patrol and roam America, but they haven’t been seen in decades—not since the 1930’s officially.

While the United States’ Fish and Wildlife Service did pronounce the eastern cougar “gone from the planet” back in 2011, they have finally made their disappearance official. They are almost definitely gone for good, never to be seen again on Earth.

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The wildlife service, in a statement, said that there is no information or evidence that demonstrates the existence of a currently reproducing population or any individual members of that particular subspecies. It added that it is extraordinarily unlikely that a population of the eastern cougar could have remained undetected since 1938, which was the year of the last confirmed sighting of the animal.

According to the wildlife service, the vast majority of eastern cougars actually disappeared in the 1800’s, and they were killed due to fear of the threat they posed to humans and livestock; furthermore, deforestation likely played a part, as did the killing of white-tailed deer, which were the animals’ primary prey.

Therefore, the subspecies was removed from the Federal Government’s List of “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife”. This was done with the authority of 1973’s Endangered Species Act.

A Canadian wildlife group has not made remarks regarding the eastern cougar since 1998; in those comments, serious doubt was expressed regarding the species living anywhere—except, possibly, in Florida.

According to National Geographic, eastern cougars have had a “complicated” history in the United States of America; despite being genetically identical, they were ruled different from the North American Cougar, Western Mountain Lions, as well as the Florida Panther. They were ruled different scientifically because of different coats; however, they were all of one species genetically.

Image Source: csmonitor.com

While there have been no official sightings of the eastern cougar since the late 1930’s, there have indeed been unofficial ones. They’ve been reported sighted in several United States, including Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

That eastern cougars may or may not have been seen is complicated because it is possible that those who saw the enormous felines might have confused them with the other animals we named above.

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Since the last true spotting, an alleged eastern cougar was killed by a car in Connecticut, but it apparently came from the west and had simply traveled a long way from its typical habitat.

Sadly, animals going extinct is not an unusual occurrence any longer. As of 2015, there may be as many as 30 species that are probably extinct, we just don’t know for sure yet. Extinction of a creature is sort of a difficult thing to prove, but prior to the mid-90’s a creature who hadn’t been seen in over 50 years was considered extinct.

Creatures that have gone extinct in the past century include the Caribbean monk seal, the Japanese sea lion, and the Guam flying fox.

There are a couple of creatures that only exist in captivity, meaning that none of them exist in the wild. One of them is the scimitar oryx, which is a type of antelope. It went extinct, at least in the wild, back in 2000.

It is a fascinating animal, really, having been domesticated back in ancient Egyptian times. Not only was it used as food, it was also offered as sacrifices to the Egyptian gods—which probably didn’t help its population numbers. Romans also ate the creatures.

The reason for its current state, however, has more to do with the fact that it was hunted for its horns. There were also climate changes thousands and thousands of years ago (think 3500 BC and before) that also contributed to the decline. World War II and the Civil War in Chad also contributed to the decline of the population.

It is possible that the myth of the unicorn exists only because of the scimitar oryx; an injured one may have been mistaken for a unicorn.

As we mentioned, there are many creatures—over a couple dozen, at least—who are believed extinct. Those creatures’ disappearance from the planet just hasn’t been confirmed. One is the Aru flying fox, who was last seen in 1992.

H/T – Source

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Written by Kevin Barrett

Kevin Barrett is an award-winning reporter currently residing in one of the many suburbs of Philadelphia. In addition to working in journalism, he was worked in higher education and logistics. He is single, but does have a distracting little dog who keeps him from achieving maximum productivity.

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