Under the name of Ghost Cat it’s described the story about a feline, extinct nowadays, that lived for a couple of centuries in different regions of the northeastern states of North America, which is the territory from the southeast of Ontario, also going over the south of Quebec in Canada, taking part of South Carolina, the west of Kentucky, and also Illinois and Michigan. The ghost cat is also known by other names as the Eastern cougar, Eastern puma and Mountain Lion.
This feline is a subspecies of the cougars; the scientific name of the breed is Puma concolor cougar. It’s an animal that started taking interest around humans by the start of the XX century.
It was a big feline among the others of its type, similar to a panther it is body, strong, muscular, brawny, with big thick dimensions, totally imposing, but it is different from the panther for its light brown or reddish-brown color, and for the form of its cranium, due to the ghost cat’ facial features lookalike to other domestic felines having a rounded head, big rounded eyes, and the medium ears upright.
The size in adults was among 60 and 80 cm, with a length that could pass the 2m from the nose to the tail. In males, the weight was among 110 to 154 pounds, while in females the measures was a little bit smaller (a weight among 88 and 110 pounds).
Its legs were strong and muscular, the fronts were especially powerful, and the backs were fasts; these physical characteristics made of this animal an excellent hunter. But with the arrival of colonizers to its natural territory, the mortal threat for this species began.
The ghost cat started to be hunt because it represented the principal cattle predator and, how it was logic it was a big animal that needed a big daily amount of meat to eat. So it became a target, and its population decreased fast.
Furthermore, the breed was much damage due to the human invasion to its territory and the industrialization and destruction of its habitat. As a consequence, in 1973 this animal officially enters into the list of animal in danger of extinction, starting to be a protected species.
The efforts tried for it preservation became a mission impossible, and after years of search, in 2011 a review of the actual state of the Ghost Cat started to discuss its possible extinction. An expert group undertook the task to research and analyze among 100 possible sightings, with the sadly new that none of them could be 100% verified.
This way, in 2018, the U.S. Fishing and Wildlife Service declared the Ghost Cat as extinct. Some associations in New England refused this statement by saying that in the woods of the area still exists some exemplars of which multiples sightings have been reported. However, none of the authorities in the topic has could to certified, due to it’s been known that those weren’t Ghost Cats, but were felines lookalike to them.
An exemplar of these animals can be found at the exhibition of the New Brunswick’ Museum.