Cougars in the East
Despite such facts, New York state wildlife biologists do not believe that there is a cougar comeback occurring in the state. They cite a lack of physical evidence such as scat, hair, DNA or a carcass.
With the growing popularity of 'Trail Cameras,' there's a strong likelihood that somebody would eventually capture a photo of a cat. Likewise, the train of thought goes, if cougars are often being witnessed along the roadways, someone would eventually discover a roadkilled cat.
Others chalk the sightings up to a case of mistaken identity or released cats. The released cat theory is highly credible. The United States has a huge, underground market for exotic cats, such as African lions, tigers and even mountain lions.
While cute at a young age, these cats become increasingly aggressive and dominant. Even after owners have them declawed, they are still dangerous animals.
Tired of the liabilities of owning a dangerous cat, and no longer able to afford the 8-10 pounds of meat the cats require daily, it's understandable that an owner can come to release a pet into the wild.
The most farfetched, yet commonly reported mountain lion story is the theory that the state, with the knowledge and/or assistance of various environmental groups, has been secretly releasing mountain lions and/or wolves across the park for many years.
How, why or with what funds the groups have accomplished such a secret feat has never been fully explained to me. In the story, the 'Men in Black' now wear green and never tell anybody what they're up to. Witnesses claim that "state officials," (usually a local Environmental Conservation Officer) secretly take a microchip out of the dead cat and swear the witnesses to silence. If this is the case, we better bundle our children and lock the door whenever they come by in that spaceship with flashing lights.