Life Outside Spring 2018 - 13

QuickStrides

EASTERN COUGAR OFFICIALLY
Reported sightings continue

Could be coyotes or big bobcats, according to one biologist.
Officially, the Eastern Cougar was declared
extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in early
2018. But tell that to the people who say they are
seeing what biologist Rolf Gubler calls "mountain
lions" in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park.
"We get occasional big-cat sightings or cat-like
animal sightings," Gubler says. "We get maybe one
or two a year.
Still, says Gubler, who has worked at the national
park since 1988, "We have never gotten one on a
game camera. There is no photo, no DNA evidence,
no hair-just a [reported] sighting."
What some people see could be coyotes or large
bobcats, says Gubler, who is based in Luray. "And
some of our bobcats have relatively longer tails."
What's even comical: Gubler says some people
mistake glimpses of large housecats for mountain
lions.

For years, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials had been
reviewing the Eastern Cougar subspecies, which
was officially removed from the endangered species
list in February.
"While many suspected cougar sightings are
probably mistakenly identified bobcats or other
animals, cougars do occasionally occur in eastern
North America," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
says in a release, "but they are cougars of other subspecies: either Florida panthers, animals dispersing
from western populations, or animals that have
been released or escaped from captivity."
Possibly, Gubler says, the western cougars-or
"mountain lions"-are moving eastward. So, at
some point, he speculates, those animals "could
show up in more remote areas."
-Joe Tennis

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AND YOUNG AT HEART. STAY THAT WAY.

Never stop playing.

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LifeOutsideMag.com // 2018

13


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Spring 2018

Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover1
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