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I have a slightly different take on the situation than Chris. I have been interested in cougars in the East for more than 40 years. For most of that time, I was a believer.

Forget about New England for a moment. Take out a map of the eastern US and randomly pick out any area of public land between New York and Georgia. Google for accounts of sighting in your selected area. Visit it in person, asking people if they believe cougars are present. Soon you'll have a long list of sightings, but almost no evidence of cougars except hoaxes. There are occasional killings of former captives, and a male Florida panther was shot by a hunter on the Georgia-Alabama line in 2008. That's about it.

For more than 100 years people have been searching for evidence of cougars in the East. Mostly they have failed--big time. No one has ever documented a breeding population. Were all these people, who invested so much time and energy in the "search," incompetent? I don't think so.

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