March 3, 2011

Nittany Lion officially declared Extinct

wintershrine "Every college has a legend..."

Well, folks, it looks like that legend will remain just a legend, since there is now officially no chance to ever again see a living Nittany Lion:
After a lengthy review, federal officials concluded there are no breeding populations of cougars — also known as pumas, panthers, mountain lions and catamounts — in the eastern United States. Researchers believe the eastern cougar subspecies has probably been extinct since the 1930s.
Unfortunately, most of us Penn State fans already knew this.

The athletic symbol of the Pennsylvania State University is the North American felis concolor, variously known as the mountain lion, cougar, puma, or panther. The large tawny-colored "cat" became extinct in this region a quarter of a century after the University was founded in 1855.
But I guess there is something to be said for gaining closure on the issue. Though, I can bet you'll run into at least one Pennsylvanian at a tailgate this fall who will swear they saw one a few years ago along their property's wood line.

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  1. I will comment to the fact that while driving through a country road in West Virginia around the year 2000 with my family, we saw a mountain lion leap in front of our car and somehow avoid getting hit. It was retreating back in to the woods from a pasture full of sheep. Maybe what we saw isn't one of those "eastern cougars" but it certainly wasn't a cat, deer, dog, etc. It honestly looked like the stuffed Nittany Lion from the Pattee Library...

    So, you didn't have to wait for a tailgate to hear one of these stories, but to this day, all 5 family members believe we saw a mountain lion in West Virginia that looked rather closely to such animal!

  2. I was driving through PA near State College when i saw a mountain lion get abducted by aliens in a spaceship. For real. All four of us saw it.

  3. You probably did see a mountain lion. The USFWS isn't saying that there are no mountain lions in existence here in the northeast, but that the occasional lion spotted is of southern descent. You can thank the pet trade for them. People get them as cubs, and release them when they become adolescents or adults and are unmanageable and unwanted by zoos, rescue centers or professional collections. Generally, most released cats are unequipped at dealing with life in the wild and die very quickly or are killed, but a few do survive and if they can find a mate, they'll breed. These cats are not the same subspecies of Felis concolor that used to populate this area of the North American continent.

  4. Awesome,
    we lured in one of the rarest creatures of all: a Zookeeper!