In a tragic wildlife development, the majestic Eastern Puma has been officially declared extinct by U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), as of January 22.
Detail shot of a Puma
The species, known as Felis concolor couguar and Puma concolor couguar, has been officially removed from Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife. The Felis cougar were commonly known as mountain lions, panthers and pumas.
Low angle view of Cougar standing on wood
Historically, these majestic cats have roamed every state of the eastern part of the United States along the Mississippi river.
Cougar in hunt attitude
In the year 2011, USFWS started to review the status of Eastern Pumas under the Endangered Species Act. It was deduced in 2015 that there was no evidence of the existence of the large cats.
Puma concolor, also commonly known as the mountain lion, puma, panther, or catamount
The de-listing of the endangered Pumas will become official on 22nd February.
Mountain Lion in the Southwest USA
The big cat hasn’t been seen in the wildlife for more than 8 decades. The Eastern Puma’s quandary has been around for over 100 years now and by the 1900s, the cats were gradually vanishing because of hunting and systematic trapping.
According to Mark Elbroch, the head scientist for Puma program at the group Panthera, the Eastern Pumas have been ‘long extinct’.
A cougar resting on a log over black background
In the year 2015, the biologists of Federal Wild life deduced that pumas elsewhere in the Eastern United States were beyond recovery and, thus, needed no protection under the Act of Endangered Species.
The genetic cousins of Eastern Pumas, mountain lions are still inhabit Western United States and are associated with the small, endangered population of Florida panthers which are found in Everglades.
A cute shot of two puma cubs posing together, cheek against cheek
On average, Eastern Pumas were 8 feet long from their head to tail and, could weigh as much as 63.5 kilograms. The majestic creatures once had a huge population – and then humans happened!
The last of such a cat on record was killed in 1938 by a hunter in Maine. The reasons for their extinction are systematic habitat destruction and extermination campaigns; some of these majestic cats were trapped and killed for their fur, while others were murdered to prevent them from interfering with livestock.
Some biologists are hopeful that they will be able to test the possibilities of conservation with the help of the plentiful cousins of Eastern Puma.
One of the conservation advocates of biological diversity, Michael Robinson, said: “We need large carnivores like cougars, which would curb deer overpopulation and tick-borne diseases that threaten human health, so we hope Eastern and Midwestern states will reintroduce them.”
What happened to Eastern Pumas is really alarming and we, as humans, should start playing our part to protect other species from getting extinct!