The New York TimesBy FELICITY BARRINGER
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.