Eastern Cougar Declared Extinct By Wildlife Service

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It happens every once in a while around here — someone swears they’ve seen a cougar (the animal, that is). Well, some federal research confirms what most local scientists have said for years: you probably didn’t see one.

Probably, because there’s some evidence that sightings in northern Delaware starting about 15 years ago might be real. Researcher Mike McCullough with the US Fish and Wildlife Service believes that cat might have been dumped there illegally by it’s owner at the time.

“But there is no evidence that those animals reproduced,” he said. “There’s no confirmed evidence of them existing today.”

In fact, the Eastern Cougar — the last known breed to inhabit these parts — hasn’t been seen in 70 years. And after four years of research, is now declared extinct. Most people who think they’ve seen a cougar probably saw a black bear, a large dog or a house cat.

Still, McCullough suggests if you think you’ve seen a cougar, report it anyway. Because you never know.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio


One Comment

  1. Rachael says:

    I was walking out behind my house, approximately 30 yards uphill in a wooded area, when i noticed prints. I know they’re not bear and after a little digging around on the internet, I’m 85% sure it’s a cougar print, and considering the close proximity to the main road, I’m worried about the animals safety. I have pictures of the prints, which are fairly old, but still clear, with obvious large cat scat in the area and have no clue who to notify about the possibility of their actually being a cougar. If anyone can help me, please email me at gryffindork20@yahoo.com with ‘cougar’ as the subject.

  2. Joseph Breen says:

    My name is Joseph Breen and I live at 80 Child Hill Road, Woodstock CT. I have a photograph of a full grown mountain lion I took from my back yard while it stood looking at us and walked slowly away, then into the brush. The photo was taken from about 250 feet across an open field with a wide-angle/zoom lens on a 35 MM camera. My wife and two children observed this animal for several minutes before it walked into the brush. It was quite conspicuous it was a mountain lion from the tail, as long as the body, the lion shape of the head and face as it looked directly at us, and the large chest. I had the photo enlarged in increments to show perspective against our backyard fence. I have shown this to several people and contacted our state DEP which noted the report but expressed skepticism. I have the photo displayed in my office. I noted the news of extinction in the NYT. I am happy to sneer any questions.

  3. Indiana Guy says:

    Why in the world would you shoot the animal?? Thats maddness. If its not extinct.. its at best endangered. Shooting it would not only be stupid, but probably illegal. Use a camera, for crying out loud..
    Man.. you just ruined my day, Jason.

  4. Jason Berry says:

    This is not true. I, my father, my sister, brother-in-law and my son have all seen a black, yes a black Cougar (Mt. Lion, Panther what ever you want to call it) more than once in the last year. I live in south central PA and we first saw the animal in the Lewisberry area in January of 2010. I had purchased a BB gun for my son at Christmas. We were outside at my sisters house shooting it. There are fields with pockets of woods behind my sisters home. While we were on the porch shooting targets with the BB gun, I noticed what I first thought was a deer coming out of the woods into the field approximately 300 yards away. Within a few seconds I went from thinking it was a deer, to it was a bear, to no that’s a cat, a black cat. But as we looked at it we realized that this cat was at least 100 to 150 lbs! We could see it’s very long black tail rising up over it’s back and head as it sat there crested on the hill staring off into another field (which contained sheep by the way). Since then my sister has recently seen the cat on at least two other ocasions at the end of 2010.

    Not only that but my father has seen a Cougar / Mt. Lion within the last few years as well. He lives in the Tourt Run PA area and saw the cat cross the road in front of him in his head lights. He turned around and shined his headlights into the Trout Run Park and the cat was there, but moved off quickly. When he told others about what he had seen, he learned that the cat had been seen by several other people in town and that the game commission had already been called. The game commission sent in a truck, which had what appreared to be a large trap box on the back. It was seen around the town for a few days and then the truck and the cat were never seen again. The game commission denies that it cought anything of course. And for that reason, we never reported the Lewisberry sighting.
    The PA Game Commission denies that there are “big cats” in our state. They have gattherd up all evidence anytime a cat is seen or killed and deny it ever happened. If given the opportuity I will shoot the animal and call a press conference to prove that the Game Commission is lying. I would suggest anyone else who sees a “big cat” and has the means, to do the same thing.

    As God is my witness, thess are true events. I am completely willing to testify to this fact. As is my entire family who saw the animal. I would even take a polyghraph test to prove that I am not lying.

    I know of several other stories about Mt. Lions / Cougars / Panthers in central PA, from friends and family members, that I can not verify personally. But would be willing to share the info with anyone who is interested.
    Jason A. Berry

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