Eastern Cougars Extinct?
On March 2, 2011, the U.S. Government released a report saying the eastern mountain lion is extinct. [Note: Eastern panthers, painters, pumas, mountain lions, and cougars all describe the same animal]:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) conducted a formal review of the available information and, in a report issued today, concludes the eastern cougar is extinct and recommends the subspecies be removed from the endangered species list…
Reports of cougars observed in the wild examined during the review process described cougars of other subspecies, often South American subspecies, that had been held in captivity and had escaped or been released to the wild, as well as wild cougars of the western United States subspecies that had migrated eastward to the Midwest…
Recent Mountain Lion Sightings in Virginia Continue
Despite the government report, I am unconvinced that there are not small numbers of a remaining breeding population of eastern mountain lions in Virginia. My wife and I both believe we saw one in 2006.
More recently when we had our dryer repaired earlier this year, the repairman mentioned he heard of a recent sighting near Amissville, Virginia (Rappahannock County).
Additionally “Sheepherder,” a commentator on the Capital Weather Gang blog, recently commented:
There is another mountain lion or three out here in zip codes 20185, 20184, 20117 and 20118.
Those zip codes correspond to Fauquier County.