As of Wednesday the Eastern Cougar, a subspecies of the regular cougar became extinct. Proving once again that the pen is mightier than a hunters bullet of a speeding SUV the once wide ranging cat was struck down by a scientific decision.
Genetics and other geeky type processes recently available to scientists were the determining factor.
Northeast Region Fish and Wildlife Service Announcement
This reshuffling of the deck hasn't been confined to the cougar but is ranging across the amimal world.
Until the late 1980s, as many as 32 subspecies were recorded; however, a recent genetic study of mitochondrial DNA found that many of these are too similar to be recognized as distinct at a molecular level. Following the research, the canonical Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition) recognizes six subspecies, five of which are solely found in Latin America:
For now the USFW recognizes the Florida Panther as an endangered species but it's heartening to know that if need be they could simply crate up a bunch of cats from here and send them down to Florida and genetically they'd have a Florida panther.
Along the front range of Colorado the cougar population is if anything overpopulated due to irrigated lawns providing ideal habitat for mule deer, the cougars favorite prey.
On a personal note when I was a young fellow I attempted to coexist with a cougar. Things didn't always work out so well.