A number of common myths have circulated throughout the Adirondacks over the years. The two I hear most commonly regard rumors that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is "secretly restocking" wolves (and/or) mountain lions in the park.
I recently spoke with Ed Reed, a wildlife biologist with NYSDEC Region 5 in Ray Brook about an incident regarding a "wolf that was hit by a car and taken away by the DEC."
Such reports are common, yet the details always remain sketchy and despite the frequency of these stories, to date there has never been a carcass recovered or a legitimate photograph of either a wolf or a mountain lion provided - with one exception.
Reed explained that the DEC is very interested in following up on such reports. "We are very interested in finding out about the existence of wolves or cougars in the park," he revealed. Ken Kogut, a former Region 5 wildlife biologist now working in Region 6, is very interested in reports of mountain lions. He has actually witnessed one himself. "If you ever have a report of tracks or a kill," Kogut offered,"Please let us know. We have several game cameras which we will set up immediately. We have as much interest in discovering these animals as the public does."
Reed expressed the same opinion.
Reed further explained that if the DEC were actually to attempt restocking wolves or lions, the effort would require an expansive planning including budgets, reports, permits, landowner notification and a comparable commitment of staff and personnel.
Such an effort would be impossible to hide from public scrutiny or review from organizations ranging from environmental groups to the Conservation Fund Advisory Board.
Although a large coyote shot by a hunter in the town of Day a few years back was later verified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to be a gray wolf, investigation later determined that the animal was a released captive.