Beast of Never, 
Cat of God 
The Search for the Eastern Puma
by Bob Butz
 
For the last one hundred years, the puma-also known as catamount, panther, cougar, and mountain lion-has been extinct east of the Mississippi River. Or has it? 

In the early 1970s, an endangered handful of these 150-pound wildcats was discovered living deep in the palmetto jungle of the Florida Everglades. But elsewhere, and despite a long litany of sightings, tracks, and more recently photographs and video footage, most wildlife biologists and game department officials from New England to the Great Lakes flatly dismiss any notion that the "eastern puma" survives anywhere else in this increasingly fragmented and suburbanized country. 

When the most compelling body of evidence yet surfaces to suggest that the government's experts might be wrong, Bob Butz sets out to discover the truth behind what is perhaps the most mythic and misunderstood predator in North America. The result is a weird and wacky glimpse at the people and politics surrounding the so-called "eastern puma." 

Why do state and federal biologists so often dismiss evidence that pumas are here? Is that denial leaving people at risk? Who are the characters out there looking for pumas-and at what cost to the cat and, ultimately, themselves? The answers reveal a mystery greater and far more complex than anyone ever imagined. It will also leave readers examining their own beliefs.

A journey into the woods, a road trip, a meditation, and an expose, Beast of Never, Cat of God chronicles the search for cougar, while exploring the implications, the myths, and the reality of the creature. It's one man's hunt for truth and wilderness in a place-the East-where true wilderness is thought not to exist.


Beast of Never, Cat of God 
The Search for the Eastern Puma
by Bob Butz
University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
Order a copy.

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