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http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/the-eastern-cougar-dead-or-alive/?partner=rss&emc=rss

The New York Times

By FELICITY BARRINGER

When this image was produced around 1850, many states had a bounty on cougars. (Hutton Archive/Getty Images)

When I looked over the news release that was the basis for my article on Thursday about the extinction of the eastern cougar, I thought it would be a straightforward reporting task. Cougar was here, now it isn’t, what happened, when and a few colorful details.

Oops. I forgot that when it comes to endangered species, things are rarely simple. In this case, the most basic issue about the eastern cougar — whether it was a separate species at all — had been in doubt for a decade, after wildlife geneticists determined that there was virtually no difference between its DNA and that of its western cousins, known out in California, where I live, as mountain lions.

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