The Eastern Puma By Jack Hayden
Characteristics • 5-9 feet long, weighing 100-200 pounds • Primarily eats hoofed animals such as deer • Will also eat smaller mammals, birds, fish, and arthropods • Lives anywhere from mountains to swamps and forests, and rests in caves • Is a keystone species, despite low population density • Helps to prevent the populations of deer and elk from becoming too large • By regulating the population of herbivores, the puma also assists in keeping vegetation from deteriorating
Endangerment • Put on endangered species list in 1973 • Marked as endangered wherever found (Eastern North America) • Considered extinct as of 2011
Where in the world is the Eastern Puma found? • Stretches across North America and Central America from southern Canada to the tip of South America • Has occupied every eastern state at some point • One of the most widely distributed land animals
Why is the Eastern Puma endangered? • Pumas were killed by early settlers who saw them as a danger to livestock • Continuously hunted and trapped until almost complete eradication • Hunting promoted by state bounty rewards • Habitat destroyed by deforestation, which also affected the deer population (their main source of food)
How many individuals remain? How long before extinction? • The Eastern Puma is considered extinct as of 2011.
How is the Eastern Puma important to the world? • The Eastern Puma provided stability throughout the North American continent, as it was a predator of herbivores such as deer that need to be controlled.
What is being done to help revitalize the species numbers? • Currently nothing, as they are non-existent • In 1982, a plan for recovering the Eastern Puma population was created that involved four steps: “develop adequate search techniques, train appropriate State and Federal personnel in search techniques, assign search priorities, perform systematic searches” • None of the four steps of this plan were even started
How successful are the current efforts? • The plans to recover the puma included research on the animal, locating and protecting select specimen, and taxonomic evaluations in order to develop a permanent management plan. • The plans were never put into action.
Works Cited • FWS. (2014, January 30). Eastern Puma. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=A046 • Mark McCollough, M. M. (2011, December 21). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes eastern cougar extinct. Retrieved 1 30, 2014, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ECougar/newsreleasefinal.html • FSW. (1981, August). Recovery Plan Eastern Puma. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plans/1982/820802.pdf • The Cougar Fund. (2014). Cougar Conservation. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from The Cougar Fund: http://www.cougarfund.org/conservation/conservation/