The Mountain Lion Foundation offers an informative timeline on the widespread extirpation (and, nearly, extermination) of the cougar in the U.S. The tolls taken by bounty hunters and government-paid hunters are staggering - over 7,700 animals in just one state (Arizona). That's in addition to unreported kills and sport hunting (figures for the latter are also given here). The timeline also shows a couple of recent reappearances. (When a cougar was shot and killed in Iowa in 2009, there was no prohibition against it because the animal was simply presumed not to exist in the state.)
COMMENT: I'm not opposed to allowing sport hunting as a properly regulated wildlife management tool, nor to killing of animals that take too much of a liking to cattle or humans as prey. However, the war waged by the US and state governments was close to insane, with cougars being killed in states like Arizona long after they'd been so thinned out they posed no real threat to anyone.
Thanks to Terry Colvin for passing this along.