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Cougars Officially Declared Extinct in Eastern U.S., Removed from Endangered Species List

"Eastern cougars once roamed every U.S. state east of the Mississippi, but it has been eight decades since the last confirmed sighting of the animal. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has officially declared the subspecies extinct and removed it from the U.S. endangered species list."

"The decision, announced Monday, is the result of years of deliberation. The agency conducted an extensive review of the eastern cougar in 2011, and recommended it be removed from the endangered and threatened species list in 2015, Reuters reported. The species, also known as pumas, are the genetic cousins of mountain lions in the Western United States and of Florida panthers, which are now found only in the Everglades."

The Endangered Species Act may be heading for the threatened list. This hearing confirmed it.

"In a comment to a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director who testified at the hearing, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), repeated a point made by Barrasso that of more than 1,600 species listed as threatened or endangered since the act’s inception, fewer than 50 have been removed."

That’s about 3 percent of the total, the chairman said. “As a doctor, if I admit 100 patients to the hospital and only three recover enough to be discharged, I would deserve to lose my medical license,” Inhofe said.

This is a valid point. I suggest the use of federal quick-take eminent domain to take lands needed for protection of species. The federal government seizes the land, then the parties go to court to work out fair market value after the taking. We use quick-take eminent domain a lot for expressways and even things like office buildings, malls, pipelines and power plants, but not so much for conservation purposes.