Success: Wild Cougars Return to Tennessee


Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Applaud conservation efforts that have enabled the cougar to return to Tennessee.

Cougars have returned to Tennessee after over 25 years of absence. After recording multiple sightings, wildlife officials now have reason to be optimistic about the cats’ long-term chances of survival in the area.

In the past year, there have been seven confirmed sightings of cougars in West and Middle Tennessee. The cougar’s presence in Tennessee was eliminated in the 1980s and 90s due to habitat loss and hunting, but now experts believe that the big cats have migrated east, coming from areas such as Western Canada.

Efforts to preserve cougar populations have been extensive, as evidenced by the ForceChange petitions found here and here. The cougar is subject to a number of anti-hunting protections. In Tennessee, it is forbidden to kill a cougar unless there an imminent threat of injury.

The return of these precious creatures serves as proof that environmental regulations are working. Sign the petition below to thank the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for their diligent efforts to preserve these animals.


Dear Mr. Ashe,

I am writing to commend your department for its work on preserving cougar populations. After over 20 years of absence, these animals have returned to Tennessee, and experts believe their presence will soon be permanent as the population grows. This encouraging sign serves as proof that environmental regulations are working.

Cougars were driven out of the state because of habitat loss and hunting, but new laws provide for much more rigorous protection. In Tennessee, for example, residents may not kill a cougar unless there is an imminent danger of injury. Thank you for your efforts to protect these valuable animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Malcolm

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  2. I dont agree with hunting its cruel sickening all these animals getting killed abused it needs to stop totally they need to be free live life.i hope these petitions are listerned too not ignored

  3. Yeh, great! Now hunters have one more thing to persecute again!!!

  4. Holly Moloney says:

    Bina P. has it right. I’m not signing this. The only reason the cougars are being encouraged to return is to create a new cougar hunting season in a few years’ time that will bring the state big bucks. Sure–it’s illegal to hunt them now, but ONLY if you get caught and hunters are well-trained professionals at not getting caught. These cougars don’t stand a chance–this is basically the planning stages of a future canned hunt.

    Humans need to stop “managing” animal populations under the guise of conservation PERIOD. There’s a reason the Eastern Cougar were hunted into extinction in the 80’s; this is just a set-up to do it again.

  5. If it be true that this is just a potential set up for future canned hunts, we have to stay on top of it; for now, I am celebrating new chances of the cat’s long term survival. True, there are hunters good at not getting caught…let’s deal with this one step at a time, vigilantly.
    If anyone has further insight with regards to this particular situation, please speak up… Perhaps we should include an addendum about potential, future canned hunts…

  6. Nancy Lowell says:

    Now if you could just get the BLM to stop rounding up the wild horses out west so that we do not have to fight later to have them reintroduced, then I would be impressed.

  7. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    1 – I guess Ashe has to pretend to do his job once in a while, but there’s probably a catch like the above writers have stated. 2 – I hope the cougars stay away from the part of Tennessee that thinks frog-gigging is a “sport.”

  8. Horrible. Beyond-cruel tradition, and the horses, what a mess, still researching…

    Knowledge is power. Better to hear it all, as awful as it is, than live in a fool’s paradise.

  9. I will not thank Daniel Ashe for anything. As of January 2017, Daniel Ashe, who is an avid hunter and as Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service presided over the agency’s pushing through permission for three AZA zoos to capture and import 18 young elephants in Swaziland, will be the President and CEO of the AZA. This does not bode well for the future of elephants anywhere in the world.

  10. Lisa Allred Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Nope not signing this 1❗️?

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