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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, July 29, 2016

The Head of the COUGAR REWILDING FOUNDATION, Chris Spatz, along with like-minded Conservation Groups urging the USFW Service to recognize that all Pumas in North America are the same species and that there is no basis for delisting a so-called Eastern Puma when all genetic evidence points to all Pumas in North Armerica being the same creature ............Rather, the USFW Service should immediately create a Recovery and Rewilding/Re-introduction Plan(under the umbrellea of the Endangered Species Act) for the Puma across the significant and viable habitat that exists east of the Mississippi River(sections of New England and the Appalachian Spine down through Georgia)

Press release with embedded comment letter to the USFWS.


Groups Urge USFWS to

 Protect and Recover 

Cougars Coast to Coast

Agency claims eastern cougar
 is extinct, but DNA evidence says all 
 in North America are the same subspecies


Christopher Spatz, Cougar Rewilding Foundation,
Lynn Cullens, Mountain Lion Foundation,
Greg Costello, Wildlands Network, 206-260-1177,

Photos available for media use

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
 declared i
n 2011 that the eastern cougar was
 extinct, the irony reverberated throughout the
protection movement. In a letter to USFWS
 this week, conservation organizations commented
 that the
 problem with such a decision is that no scientific
 exists that the cougars which once ranged the
 East are
 different than other 
cougars throughout North America.

"The USFWS cannot declare extinct a cougar
subspecies our
 best science now understands never
 existed," says Cougar Rewilding Foundation
Christopher Spatz. "The USFWS needs to 
develop a federal recovery plan for the entire
historic range
 of the North American cougar
 including the eastern U.S."

Currently, the puma species native to the western
 taxonomically is named Puma

 concolor (also known as cougar, mountain lion, and
 Listed as an endangered species in 1973, Puma
 couguar, the eastern cougar, was just one of 32
 described in 1946. However, genetic research in
 the 1990s
determined there were just six subspecies, including 
the one that is widely distributed across North
 America, Puma
 concolor cougar.

The 2011 USFWS review acknowledges that the
1946 taxonomy

of the eastern cougar is flawed.

 Modern research cannot distinguish between the
thousands of
cougars living throughout the
 western U.S. and the rare historic specimens tested
 east of the
 Mississippi River. Cougar biologists
 now generally agree there is a single North American

"This is a simple case of a broadly-dispersed North
 subspecies moving to recover its
 historic range east of the prairie states," said Lynn
 Cullens of
 the Mountain Lion Foundation.

"The big cats face no fewer threats than when they
 originally listed. Federal action should
 include, not remove, protections for animals seeking
 within the former range."

The main point made by cougar advocates is that
cougars need
 federal protection under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA) across the entire
range from which
 they were exterminated. 
Recolonization has been attempted by cougars
dispersing from
 prairie states into the Midwest for a generation,
 with rare
 evidence of the cats roaming as far afield as the
Upper Peninsula, Kentucky and even Connecticut.

"The Midwest has been a cougar graveyard for
 25 years,"
said Spatz, "Females and wild kittens
 have not been documented east of the Missour
i River."

Adding to the complexity of the puma recovery
 effort is the
fact that the endangered panther
 of Florida - currently listed under the ESA as a
subspecies -
 shares the primary genetic makeup 
of the rest of the U.S. population.

"As the lone surviving cougar population in the
 East," said
 Cullens, "the panther's federal recovery
 plan, including reintroductions, is critical to
 across the southeastern U.S., and the panther
remain fully protected by future USFWS decisions."

A recent scientific paper, "An Ecosystem Service
 of Cougars,"
 gave a strong boost to the argument for a new
 recovery plan for cougars when it pointed out
 that deer
in the U.S. (the cat's main prey) cause 1.2
million deer-
vehicle collisions annually, incurring $1.66
 billion in
damages, 29,000
 injuries, and over 200 deaths.

"Pumas are one of the most important
regulators we have," notes Greg Costello of
 Wildlands Network. "When people see the
 and safety value of big carnivores doing
 natural work, we'll all benefit."

"We can't rely on a shooting gallery of state
laws that
 encourage everything from unenforced
 protections to 'kill on sight' to no policy at
 all," notes
 Cullens. "State laws are real obstacles, sure
 as bullets,
 and cougars don't see borders."

The groups believe that the federal law and
spirit that
restored bald eagles and peregrine falcons
 to the East should apply to every cougar on
 a journey
to reclaim its historic range.


2,730 individuals and these 73 

organizations signed the letter:

Advocates for Snake Preservation
American Ecological Research Institute
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Answers for Animals, LLC
Anthony's ALL Service
Arc of Appalachia Preserve System
AZ Public Media
Battle Creek Alliance & Defiance Canyon Raptor
Beartracker Wildlife Tracking Services
Canis Lupus 101
Chrissie's Fund
Connecticut Audubon Society
Cougar Rewilding Foundation
Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research
Endangered Habitats League
Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
Every Sig Counts
Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife
Ghost Cat Habitat
Great Old Broads for Wilderness-Phoenix Broadband
International Wildlife Bond
Julian Mountain Lion Project
Justice for Wolves
Keeping Track
Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection, Inc
Kentucky Heartwood
Laguna Greenbelt, Inc.
Los Alamos Study Group
Mountain Lion Foundation
Mountains Restoration Trust
National Wolfwatcher Coalition
Nevada Wildlife Alliance
Next 2 the Tracks
Oregon Tiger Sanctuary
Pasadena Audubon Society
Placer Nature Center
Predator Defense
Primero Conservation
Project Bobcat
Project Coyote
Public Interest Coalition
Raptors Are The Solution
Rare species conservatory foundation
RESTORE: The North Woods
Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary
San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society
Save Our Sky Blue Waters
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Sequoia Forestkeeper
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
South Dakota Lion Activism
Southern California Desert Video Astronomers
Southern Colorado Environmental Council
Southwest Environmental Center
Symba Wildlife Conservation
Tennessee Heartwood
The Animal Interfaith Alliance
The PathWalker Group
The Rewilding Institute
The Wildcat Sanctuary
Topanga Creek Watershed Committee
TrailSafe Nevada
Warrior for the Wolf
Western Wildlife Conservancy
Wild Oasis
Wild Virginia
WildCat Ridge Sanctuary
WildEarth Guardians
Wildlands Network
Wildlife Research Institute
Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin
Wyoming Untrapped

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