Elegy For The Eastern Cougar: Forgotten Souls Of Appalachia

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ashley Goodman (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Abstract: The eastern cougar once ranged from eastern Canada to Georgia, thriving in the mountains and forests of Appalachia and its surroundings. Before Europeans arrived, cougars roamed freely. Soon after the European colonization of the United States, settlers came to see the eastern cougar as a threat. For centuries, cougars were killed mercilessly and recklessly. State governments placed bounties on the cougars, paying citizens for the cats’ torn away scalps. By 1850, eastern cougars were considered rare. By 1900, they were almost entirely extirpated south of the Mississippi. However, although the last known eastern cougar was killed in Maine in 1938, the cougar was not formally declared extinct until 2018. For those 80 years, legends and misperceptions kept the animal alive. Even today, the Fish and Wildlife Service receives hundreds of reported eastern cougar sightings each year. Ninety percent are other animals; the remainder are escaped captives or cougars migrating from the west. This piece, combining narrative, poetic voice, and scientific and anthropological data, will examine the life and death of the eastern cougar, the parts humans have played in its actual extinction and the denial of its extinction, and human impact on biodiversity and extinction today.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Goodman, A. (2012). "Elegy For The Eastern Cougar: Forgotten Souls Of Appalachia." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2018
eastern cougar, biodiversity, extinction, Appalachia, Appalachian biodiversity

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