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Finding Bigfoot, Spotting a Leopard and Cougars in the Adirondacks

Finding Bigfoor

Image from Finding Bigfoot, Animal Planet

Finding Bigfoot

I have a guilty pleasure. When I am tired and just want to relax and not think about anything, I like to watch Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet.   They haven’t found Bigfoot yet, or even come close, but they  keep on trying.  Although the shows seem to follow a predictable pattern, I still watch because it is entertaining  hearing all the “squatch” jargon.   Even the phrase “Gone Squatchin” makes me laugh.

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The Petties 2012 Best Blog Post Award

We are truly honored.

We are truly honored to have won The Petties 2012 Best Blog Post Award.  We were thrilled to be finalists and when we Petties 2012 Best Blog Postlearned of  the other finalists in our category, all super talented wonderful friends and fellow cat writers, we knew we would be thrilled no matter who won, because  Dogtime Media makes a generous donation to a non-profit shelter and we knew that our cousins in need would be getting some much needed help.

Just a couple days after we returned home from the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, we received and email from The Petties, asking us:

What makes the post that you’re nominated for so important?

Having just spent time learning more about the plight of the wild cheetah, as well as leopards and lions, the article that was nominated meant even more to us, and this was the answer that we sent back to The Petties.

Loss and fragmentation of habitat and depletion of prey are leading to rapidly declining populations of wildlife and in particular predators.   Ecosystems need predators to remain healthy, yet humans continue to persecute and eliminate them from our world.   “Cat Obituary Farewell Eastern Cougar”  is about the heartbreak of extinction  and a reminder to care for all animals big and small.

If you would like to read our article here is the link:  Cat Obituary Farewell Eastern Cougar.

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The Tiniest Tiger’s Gotta-Read 7 Blog Links:Paying it Forward: Tripbase Blog Post Project

I was tagged by our friend Carol Bryant of Fido Friendly to be a part of The 7 Links, Tripbase Blog Post Project. I was honored to be tagged by Carol to share 7 links from our Conservation Cub Club blog.  This took me some time to decide which posts to choose for each of the categories.  I hope you like the posts I have chosen.

At the bottom are 5 blogs I have tagged to take the torch and run with their 7 best links.  Thank you for reading The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club.

MOST BEAUTIFUL POST:

Lion Guardians Give Each Lion a Maasai Name

Lions from the Lion Guardians ProjectIt was super tough for me to choose, but I chose this post with all the African Male Lions as the Most Beautiful. Our  wild lions are in trouble and the Lion Guardian Project is showing great promise for the conservation of the big cat. One of my favorite things about the project is the naming of each lion. The naming and telling of stories about each lion emphasizes the individuality of each cat. It is also much easier to forgive the lion for preying on livestock when you know the name and unique traits. I asked  the readers to tell me which lion caught their eye and why. They are all handsome, don’t you agree?

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Cat Obituary. Farewell Eastern Cougar

 

Eastern cougar

Cat Obituary. Farewell Eastern Cougar

The Eastern Cougar, a subspecies of one of North America’s largest cats, was declared extinct by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)  on March 2, 2011,  after  a very  long and protracted review process. The USFWS gathered information on the elusive cat subspecies from both scientists and government authorities in the 21 states where the eastern cougar, also known as the eastern puma once lived.  The private Eastern Cougar Foundation spent a decade looking for evidence and  after finding none, changed its name to the Cougar Rewilding Foundation.

The historic distribution of the cougar was across lower Canada in the north, all the way to Patagonia, South America. The  highly adaptable big cat was the most widely distributed land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. It could be found in tidal marshes, deserts, mountainous terrain and deciduous, coniferous and tropical forests. But the expanding human population reduced their distribution and they did not adapt well to areas with conflicting land uses.

The eastern cougar once roamed from Maine to South Carolina and as far west as Michigan and Tennessee. They were agile for such a big cat.  The cougars had long slender bodies and small heads with short rounded ears.  They sported a beautiful  tawny coat, usually  brownish red or grayish brown, that would be more tan in the summer months and more gray in the winter. Their muzzle, chin, and underbelly were a beautiful creamy white.  They had a distinctive black tip on their tails and black coloring behind the ears, and at the base of their whiskers.

The eastern cougar was a solitary and territorial hunter whose  job was to thin the deer herd through direct predation. The big cat was a “natural shepherd” forcing deer to be more vigilant and stop grazing like cattle so that the forest would have a chance to regenerate. There are no other species available to take over the eastern cougar’s position as a top-level predator. This leaves behind ecological consequences, including a population explosion of white -tailed deer and the Eastern forests in declining health.

The USFWS decision to declare the eastern cougar extinct does not affect the current status of the Florida Panther, another wild cat subspecies that is endangered.  The Florida panther once roamed throughout the southeastern United States but now exists in less than 5% of its historic range. There are only an estimated 120-160 cats remaining in southwestern Florida.

Preparations are being made to remove the eastern cougar from the endangered species list, since extinct animals are not eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The eastern cougar was considered a distinct subspecies, although it is now believed they had the same genetics as their western relatives.   It is highly unlikely that there will be any attempt to reintroduce cougars to the eastern states, the required habitat is just not available .

The announcement of the extinction was made quietly and  the cougar was put to rest without a ceremony. And that is fitting I suppose for a cat so elusive it was given the nickname “ghost cat”.  Researchers believe the subspecies has  been extinct since the 1930′s and was listed as an endangered species in 1973.

Even though the extinction conclusion was not  unexpected, the official declaration of extinction,  the acknowledgment that the big cat is gone forever still hurts.

 

Eatern Cougar Extinct Getty file

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