By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love
From a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning a review of scientific and commercial information to determine the status of the endangered eastern cougar, the first review the Service has done since publishing a recovery plan in 1982. . . .
As part of the review, the Service is seeking information on the status of the eastern cougar in the 21 states -- from Maine to South Carolina and westward from Michigan to Tennessee -- where the Endangered Species Act protects it. Lacking definitive evidence of the species’ existence, the Service has presumed the eastern cougar to be extinct. It is improbable that a small cougar population persisted in the eastern states for over a century. . . .
"An important part of the Service's review will be to compile the best available scientific evidence and objectively assess whether the eastern cougar is truly extinct," said Mark McCollough, endangered species biologist in the Service's Northeast Region.
What’s your take? Is there a chance the USFWS will find reliable evidence of wild cougars in the region? Or is this a waste of time?