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Eastern Puma Extinct? I Doubt It!  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Apparently the US Fish and Wildlife Service has just officially declared the Eastern Puma extinct and had it removed from the Endangered Species list. See http://www.planetexperts.com/eastern-puma-declared-extinct-removed-from-endangered-species-list/
So who out there East of the Mississippi and North of Florida has seen or heard reliable account of a Puma in the wild recently? I for one have heard multiple accounts. Our own neighbor saw one in backwoods central Georgia five years ago, and what's more, she found a footprint which was confirmed as that of a puma. Before then I read believable stories of them in the Upper Peninsula of MI and also in New England. Personally I think that just because nobody has succeeded in shooting, trapping, or running over one in 75 or 100 years doesn't mean they're not out there, but that they've simply gotten savvy about how to live around people. Here in the West, where they are obviously officially not extinct, they sometimes turn up in rather large cities. One was discovered not far from downtown Sacramento, CA last summer, as I recall....
 
Posts: 66
Location: Eastern PA
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I do a lot of hiking and have a lot of hiking friends (Appalachian Trail). I have not heard of anyone having any sightings, or seeing any signs of a puma, but the thought of them being the area is kind of big cat in our area is exciting (with a splash of fear).

I have heard of black cats (panthers) in the Texas area.
 
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I have been primarily coyote hunter and outdoorsman for decade. Have spent days in the woods of different states from indiana to alabama to south Carolina. Not only have I heard pretty reliable stories from fellow outdoorsman regarding big cats in various areas. I've had several questionable encounters at night. Now am I sure that they are eastern pumas? No. Personally the encounters I've had could of been large bobcats it's not easy to make a good ID at night. But the other evidence from stories to deer carcass in trees, trail cam pics, and tracks all point to big cats definitely roaming east of mississippi river from time to time. But are these big cats eastern pumas or are they mountain lions from out west coming from places like nebraska, texas, Missouri, south Dakota that are expanding their territory back into historical ranges? I can't say for sure that there isn't eastern pumas still alive in isolated pockets. But the mountain lions that have been killed by Illinois and kentucky game wardens. Definitely supports theory of mountain lions trying to reclaim lost turf. I truly hope that either their is still isolated pockets of eastern pumas alive or the mountain lions from out west can succeed at reclaiming lost territory. They deserve a place in the east just like they do in the west. If we could just get game wardens and hunters to quit killing them maybe they'd have a chance.
 
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I live in a small town in upstate N.Y. and I saw a mountain lion,.! In town, Walton N.Y.
 
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Numerous sightings here in Eastern CT.  Definitely a breeding population, not some stragglers from out west.
 
pioneer
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I don't know if they are Eastern Cougars, or Western Cougars... or if there is actually any difference between the two. Most "official" reports claim these are animals who migrated from the west.

2016 printed report. https://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/2016/01/20/cougars-confirmed-tennessee/79015012/

2018 newscast https://wreg.com/2018/05/09/wild-animals-migrating-to-new-habitats-in-the-mid-south/

Certainly, we do have a population. I can't find the photo just now, but a friend of a friend caught a cougar on a trail camera locally just last year. He said it's been around for a while. It irks me, how just the right person has to witness a specie whether plant or animal, for it to be "real".

 
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There is a very large, very dark cat that has been regularly spotted around the Manchester State Forest.

I have personally seen it once from a deer stand. The cat was easily larger than the does in the field, but moved quickly, remaining in a ditch the entire time.

We are yet to get a game camera picture, but we did find a "scratch post" nearby.


There were claw marks over 7 feet up on a rotting pine tree.

From the people I have spoken with, the cat is always spotted near a creek, ditch bank, or swamp; but these are prevalent in my area.
 
Hamilton Betchman
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Location: South Carolina 8a
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[quote=Alder Burns]Apparently the US Fish and Wildlife Service has just officially declared the Eastern Puma extinct and had it removed from the Endangered Species list. See http://www.planetexperts.com/eastern-puma-declared-extinct-removed-from-endangered-species-list/
So who out there East of the Mississippi and North of Florida has seen or heard reliable account of a Puma in the wild recently?  I for one have heard multiple accounts.  Our own neighbor saw one in backwoods central Georgia five years ago, and what's more, she found a footprint which was confirmed as that of a puma.  Before then I read believable stories of them in the Upper Peninsula of MI and also in New England.  Personally I think that just because nobody has succeeded in shooting, trapping, or running over one in 75 or 100 years doesn't mean they're not out there, but that they've simply gotten savvy about how to live around people.   Here in the West, where they are obviously officially not extinct, they sometimes turn up in rather large cities.  One was discovered not far from downtown Sacramento, CA last summer, as I recall....[/quote]


After further research, this was mostly a re-classification thing. Florida Panthers have not been declared extinct, which would probably be the subspecies being spotted in the southeast.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/north-american-eastern-cougar-mountain-lion-extinct-spd/

From the article: "(The de-listing did not impact the subspecies of Florida panthers, a big cat considered to be one of the world's most endangered mammals.)"
 
Posts: 441
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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there are supposed sightings in north western maine of them and the gray wolf. none confirmed. i would believe the wolf as nearby quebec still has a good population of themand some might wander south. western maine is unpopulated and is commercial forest. if there could be anywhere east of the mississippi that might still have some, it would be here. we have the most forest in the east.
 
gardener
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There is a problem with classification of the several sub-species of mountain lion in the Northern Americas.
Each of the sub-species has been found to have distinct enough genetic differences, which is what determines a sub-species, so that we have something like 4 to 6 look alike but different genetically mountain lions.
To add to the opportunity of confusion there are many different names used for this species; Mountain lion (the proper name), Puma, Cougar, Panther, and Catamount.

The species is about as easy to spot as a Snow Leopard, they live singly and are very quiet, most people that see one in the wild are either looking in earnest for them or just lucky to see one.

There have, in the past few years, been attacks on people in the hills of southern California, a place where before the first reported attack, most thought the animal didn't exist in the area.

Just because no one has seen one or found evidence of one, doesn't always mean they aren't there.
 
steve bossie
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about 10 years ago or so. a cougar that was tagged in michigan showed up in CT! so anything is possible with these cats. they move around a lot with their prey.
 
Posts: 60
Location: Durham, NC
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I hope they are still out there!  But even if they are, the "extinct' classification doesn't mean that no more of that animal exists on planet earth.  It means the population density and numbers are so low that the species cannot survive.  I hope the Pumas prove us wrong.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Puma are not all that rare, but this depends on what area you are talking about.
The Andes have a good sized population and the areas are remote enough that odds are humans will rarely go into those habitat areas.
The Sierra Nevada Range also has a decent population of puma as do the Rockies.
Usually the key to a predator species surviving is a lack of humans around in the animals range.
One of the best current examples of this is the Timber Wolf in the lower 48 states, the range of the wolf used to go from around the polar line down to the gulf coast, now the last few packs that aren't being hunted are found in Yellowstone National Park.
Every where else the state governments are adamant about allowing the hunting of wolves to save live stock.
 
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