Eastern Cougar, Felis concolor cougar
Date of Issue
March 30, 1977
Series Time Span
1977 - 1981
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Robert McLellan Bateman.
What a disastrous day it will be when rats and insects are all that remain of our wildlife! To help ensure that this day never comes and to draw attention to the relentless pressure on our wild creatures, the Post Office will commemorate an endangered species, the Eastern Cougar Felis concolor cougar. This animal is also known as the panther, painter, puma mountain lion, catamount, Indian Devil, and pi-twal - the long-tailed one. It is one of five cougar races living in Canada. The Eastern Cougar and its colleagues evolve during the heyday of the sabre-toothed tiger and spread from Atlantic to Pacific and from northern Canada to southernmost South America. The white man drastically transformed the cougar's environment and because of fear or a desire for status as a hunter, killed the animal whenever possible. Soon everyone concluded the cougar was extinct in eastern Canada and anyone claiming to have seen one was suspected of being overly fond of the bottle. Oddly enough, man's activities inadvertently saved the Eastern Cougar from annihilation. Logging, farm abandonment and fires changed the character of the New Brunswick forest, making it ideal territory for deer, the cougar's favourite food. The naturally solitary panther took to the remotest parts of the backwoods where there was plenty to eat and little human activity. The cougar population stabilized and even increased somewhat, al though unfortunately as few as 100 of the creatures no survive in eastern North America outside of Florida. A male cougar can grow up to nine feet long and weigh 280 pounds but the average male is six to eight feet long and weighs between 100 and 200 pounds. Females are generally one-third smaller. The cougar's coat varies from reddish brown to greyish brown or even black. Females start breeding when two or three years old an produce an average litter of two cubs. A cougar's vocal repertoire ranges from purrs, hisses and mews to growls and screams. One commentator feels that a noisy cougar started the legend of the Dungarvon Whooper, reputedly a murdered New Brunswick lumberman who returns from the spirit world to lament his fate. The cougar preys on a great variety of animals which it stalks by day and night. The big cat kills deer by snapping the victim's spine. It rarely makes ferocious unprovoked attacks on man, but is nevertheless regarded with dread. In 1953, a young animal harmlessly wandering by an isolated school gave rise to such bloodcurdling headline as "Large 'black devil' panthers. keep small community in terror". Thus the fear engendered by the cougar itself threatens its extinction, as do destruction of the environment and hunting. Robert Bateman, noted wildlife artist, was educated as a geographer, and is deeply interested in the preservation of the environment and the wildlife it shelters. He has illustrated the Eastern Cougar in one of its known habitats, the remote forested areas of New Brunswick and the Gaspé.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1977.
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