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March 2, 2011

Eastern Cougar Declared Extinct

On Wednesday, Federal wildlife biologists declared the eastern cougar to be extinct.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that there are no longer any wild populations of mountain lions in the eastern U.S.  Researchers believe the subspecies has probably been extinct since the 1930s.

The declaration will move the eastern cougar from the endangered species list to the extinct list.

There have been a number of sightings of mountain lions from Maine to South Carolina, but the wildlife service says those cougars were either escaped or released captives.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to declare the eastern cougar extinct does not affect the status of the Florida panther, which is another endangered wildcat.

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Image Caption: The Eastern Cougar may be a subspecies of the North American cougar, seen here. Credit: Trisha M Shears/Wikimedia Commons 

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