Eastern Puma Officially Declared Extinct
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week confirmed the eastern puma is extinct and removed it from the federal endangered species list. This distinct population of cougars once lived from Quebec to South Carolina and Manitoba to Illinois.
The decision clears the way for states like New York to reintroduce cougars from the widespread and abundant western population. Eastern pumas, also known as mountain lions, were killed off throughout the 1700s and 1800s until 1938, when the last one fell to a hunter in Maine.
Western pumas disperse widely and have shown up as far east as Connecticut.
"We need large carnivores like cougars to keep the wild food web healthy, so we hope eastern and midwestern states will reintroduce them," said the Center's Michael Robinson.
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