The Cryptid Zoo: Eastern Cougar

The cougar is a big cat that was once found throughout most of Canada, America, Central America and South America. It is also known as the puma, panther, painter and mountain lion. It is buff or tan in color, with some black marks on the ear tips and near the whiskers. There has never been a confirmed case of an all-black cougar, so the question of the eastern cougar is usually kept separate from reports of American black panthers, though some researchers consider these two cryptids to be the same. The cougar was viciously extermined from the entire eastern part of the United States, or at least that is what zoologists believed. Sightings of eastern cougars have continued despite the fact that there aren't supposed to be any cougars to see.

Scientists were suprised when the Florida panther, long considered to be a mythical animal, was discovered in the Everglades. It was declared a subspecies and is now on the brink of extinction. Other reports of eastern cougars have not been confirmed by the scientific community, yet. They are still scoffed at.

What could these other sightings be? There might be small, hidden pockets of cougars that are the same subspecies as the Florida panther, or they might be a different subspecies. They might be intermittent migrants from the American west or Mexico, where wild cougars still roam. We now know that wild cougars can travel as far as 600 miles into cougar-free country. Some could be escaped or abandoned pets. All these explanations are attractive, and some might apply to some sightings, but not others. It is also possible that there are surviving pockets of eastern cougars, escaped pets, and wild migrants who are responsible for different sightings. Unfortunately, none of these explanations has been confirmed yet. As far as mainstream science is concerned, nearly all cougar sightings east of the Mississippi river are lies, hoaxes or hallucinations.

You can find out more about the Eastern Cougar from the following sources:

Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Monsters New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Pages 223-227

Bolgiano, Chris, ed. & Roberts, Jerry, ed. The Eastern Cougar: Historic Accounts, Scientific Investigations and New Evidence.

Bolgiano, Chris. Mountain Lion: An Unnatural History of Pumas and People.

Choangle, George O. Have You Seen the Ozark Howler?

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Page 250

Coleman, Jerry D. Strange Highways: A Guidebook to American Mysteries & the Unexplained. Alton, Illinois: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2003. Pages 41-54

Coleman, Loren. Mysterious America: The Revised Edition. New York: Paraview Press, 2001. Pages 9, 13-14, 19-22, 29, 38, 107, 109-110, 113, 115-126, 144, 154-159, 243, 278, 292-296
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Florida Panther Net

Godfrey, Linda S. Cougar or Manwolf Prints?

Maehr, David S. The Florida Panther: Life and Death of a Vanishing Carnivore

Moggycat. Anomalous Felids

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 16-17, 44, 53-54, 115-118, 140, 142-145, 179, 261, 276, 298-299, 319, 326, 356, 495-496

The Ozark Howler and the Eastern Cougar

Parker, Gary. The Eastern Panther: Mystery Cat of the Appalachians.

Shuker, Karl. The Beasts That Hide From Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals. New York: Paraview Press, 2003. Pages 276-277

Taylor, Troy. Phantom Panthers & Big Cats of Illinois

Wall, Frank. Hunting the Ozark Howler

Weidensaul, Scott. The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species. New York: North Point Press, 2002. Pages 10-11, 123-128, 132, 150

Wright, Bruce S. The Eastern Panther: A Question of Survival. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin and Company, 1972. (Revised version of The Ghost of North America).

Wright, Bruce S. The Ghost of North America: The Story of the Eastern Panther. New York: Vantage, 1959.

Wikipedia, The. Eastern Cougar

Wikipedia, The. Ozark Howler

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