Eastern cougar officially extinct

No signs of big cat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially declared the eastern cougar to be extinct, despite the fact that many locals swear they’ve spotted the species in recent years, according to media reports.

In early March, the USFWS released a report concluding that the eastern cougar—a big cat that is sometimes called a catamount, puma, panther or mountain lion—is extinct and should be taken off the endangered-species list, where it has been since the early ’70s.

Scientists gathered information during a formal review process, which included requesting information about potential sightings of the cat. They received nearly 600 responses, but no evidence was found to confirm the sightings were of an actual eastern cougar.

Biologists in Tennessee also scoured for evidence of the cougar in the mountains, but found none. Mark McCollough, the USFWS’s lead cougar scientist, said the cat may have gone extinct as early as the 1930s.