Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the ongoing human development into cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the North American cougar is considered to have been mostly extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for the isolated Florida panther subpopulation. Transient males have been verified in Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois (where a cougar was shot in the city limits of Chicago), and in at least one instance, observed as far east as the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, and coastal Connecticut. Reports of eastern cougars (P. c. cougar) still surface frequently in the Eastern United States, although it was declared extirpated in 2011. However, it is speculated and believed by many that the Western cougar is recolonizing the Eastern cougar's former range in the Northeastern United States, and there is growing evidence that supports a small but growing population of Western cougars in the Eastern and Northeastern states, mostly cougars migrating from the Midwestern United States, though possibly also from Canada. In April 1997, an experienced tracker named John McCarter found the mauled carcass of a beaver with scat nearby in the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts. The scat was tested positive as being from a mountain lion. In March 2011, Steve Ward, a DCR forester in the state of Massachusetts, photographed tracks in the Quabbin Reservoir. The tracks are believed to have been made by the same mountain lion that was seen in Minnesota, Michigan, upstate New York, and Connecticut, before later being struck by an SUV and killed in Connecticut on a highway that same year. The animal is believed to have originated from the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mountain lions are well documented in the state of Wisconsin, with several confirmed sightings with photo and video evidence being as recent as August 13, 2019, with many other sightings earlier that year and during the previous year of 2018.
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