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About Trackincats
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Researching cougar sightings in New York is laborious, challenging, and fascinating. Many questions concerning this predator remain unanswered. In search of information, we seek out individuals involved with the study and knowledge of this large carnivore. We have come to some conclusions and concerns we want to share. One is that whether or not you previously believed that cougars exist in New York State, you should know that cougars are here now. And they are being seen in larger numbers. Second, cougars are a threat to humans, livestock, pets, and wildlife.



At this point in our research, we want to make you aware of your surroundings. We are going to show you where cougars have been seen. Some sightings may be wrong, with dogs, coyotes or other animals being mistaken for cougars. Investigating the credibility of the people making the reports and following up on these sightings, we feel most reports represent true cougar sightings.

Please keep in mind when you look at the map that Cougars have been seen in front yards, farms, roads, school yards, and parking lots— not just in the forest. Safety is our main goal. Look back to our home page under the links of what to do if you encounter a cougar. Several of the links describe the actions the cougar displays in relation to the threat it poses to you.

We made a visit to our New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Many of the questions and rumors we have heard need to be addressed and we need answers. The Endangered Species Unit welcomed us, and we enjoyed a long visit with Allen Hicks.

The DEC web site says, “There are no Eastern Cougars, they are extirpated.”

What is this cougar that is said to be extirpated? That is one of our unanswered questions. We are not the only state in the United States asking this. Every state in the US now claims to be seeing cougars. In the western states where a population of wild cougars is known to exist, they now claim the population has risen dramatically.

The DEC does receive many reports of sightings, but does not investigate without other evidence to go along with the sighting, such as a track or an animal killed in a way suggestive of a cougar. When the DEC accepts a cougar report, they believe the cougar was one release intentionally, or unintentionally, by people and not a wild cougar.

If the DEC is to be believed, these cats were once someone’s pet. We think this is an even more dangerous situation than if the cougars were from the wild. These animals have been imprinted on humans and have lost the fear of humans. Imprinting on wild animals is irreversible. Releasing animals lacking appropriate survival skills can be deadly to humans and to the released animals.

We have heard many times that folks witnessed cougars and wolves being released into the wild. Many claim the DEC had released cougars. We also visited the Law Enforcement of DEC. They were very assertive in telling us the DEC would never release cougars. I believe those who have seen animals released, so we need to also try to identify the people and the vehicles releasing the animals. Should you see someone releasing an animal report it immediately to the proper authorities.

Many organizations and people believe the cougar should be allowed to roam the Eastern states. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but that does not mean it is a correct decision for the people of New York or for the cougar trying to make its home here.



Last updated February 18, 2011 spacer cougar

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